Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced a major border security plan on Thursday that involves building its own barriers along the Mexico border and arresting illegal immigrants who enter the state.
The new comprehensive plan to stamp out illegal border crossings in Texas was announced at a Border Security Summit in Del Rio, attended by Texas law enforcement, county judges, mayors, district attorneys, and landowners.
The Republican governor said he will sign state budgets that will appropriate more than $1 billion to increase border security, and that Texas will expand its border barrier, with more details to come next week.
He also said that Texas will be arresting illegal immigrants who enter the state. “We’re going to start making arrests—sending a message to anyone thinking about coming here—you’re not getting a free pass. You’re getting a straight pass to a jail cell,” he wrote on Twitter.
The new order builds upon Abbott’s disaster declaration that had directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to enforce all federal and state criminal laws for criminal trespassing, illegal entry, smuggling, and human trafficking. The disaster declaration also called for more jail space for the arrested illegal immigrants.
Also as part of the enhanced border security plan, a new “Governor’s Task Force on Border and Homeland Security,” will meet every two weeks to discuss updates on the southern border and make recommendations on ways to stop the crisis, Abbott said. The task force will comprise representatives from multiple state agencies.
Furthermore, both Texas and Arizona will invoke an interstate compact, the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, under which both Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey are seeking the support of other states to send law enforcement officials to help with arrests and jailing. The two governors say they are also asking for resources such as drones and helicopters to help landowners, who have suffered damage to their property due to the surge in illegal immigration.
In a statement, Abbott said that the Biden administration’s policies have led to the humanitarian crisis at the southern border with “record levels” of illegal immigrants, drugs, and contraband pouring into Texas.
“While securing the border is the federal government’s responsibility, Texas will not sit idly by as this crisis grows,” Abbott said. “The state is working collaboratively with communities impacted by the crisis to arrest and detain individuals coming into Texas illegally.
“Our efforts will only be effective if we work together to secure the border, make criminal arrests, protect landowners, rid our communities of dangerous drugs, and provide Texans with the support they need and deserve. This is an unprecedented crisis, and Texas is responding with the most robust and comprehensive border plan the nation has ever seen.”