“It is time for Congress to quit denying this is a crisis and address the problem.” — Lt. Governor Patrick
“Shame on Congress if they won’t do their job.” — Speaker Bonnen
Texas’ “Big Three” was united in their displeasure with the United States Congress for their heretofore failure to address the increasing number of illegal immigrants flowing across the southern border.
“In the past 3 weeks alone, more than 45,000 people have been apprehended crossing the southern border,” Governor Greg Abbott told the press gaggle cluttered in front of him.
Alongside Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and Major General Tracy Norris of the Texas Army National Guard, Gov. Abbott announced the deployment of 1,000 troops to the southern border today at a noon press conference.
The trio stressed that an influx of 45,000 individuals from 52 different countries in the past few weeks meant something must be done.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will also be opening two new holding facilities in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso.
Patrick emphasized, “The massive increase in illegal immigration — on pace to exceed a million people this year — has been an emergency for months and Texas must continue to do everything we can to help secure our border.”
Since the recent surge of illegal immigrants crossing the border, some in Congress have pleaded for the body to act. The foremost example of this is Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21), who a few weeks ago, alongside other members of the House Freedom Caucus, began objecting to every unanimous consent motion and voice vote in the House until border aid was brought to the floor.
Roy announced on Wednesday that his efforts seem to have paid off as House leadership was now seriously considering acting director of the Office of Management and Budget Russ Vought’s request for $4.5 billion in border aid.
However, some skepticism has already been expressed that the House Democrat’s border aid bill will not fully provide the funding Vought and the President requested.
Indeed, an initial draft of the border supplemental shows that Democrat’s version of the bill would provide relatively few resources to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for additional beds and capacity to accommodate the sheer volume of people coming across the southern border.
The White House requested $534.5 million for ICE. The bill laid out by House Democrats would lower that number to $128.2 million with no apparent funding appropriated for additional personnel or bedding.
The Texas Democrat Party issued a statement following the announcement, saying, “Deploying 1000 new troops to the border is reckless, unnecessary, and further serves to harm our relationships with our strategic allies in Central America and Mexico.”
The Republican Party of Texas (RPT) lauded the move with Chairman James Dickey saying in a statement, “The Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker [have taken] the responsibility seriously to secure our border in a humanitarian manner in spite of the Democrat-led House of Representatives refusing to engage in meaningful immigration reform.”
Speaker Bonnen hailed the effort as “yet another example of Texas stepping up and filling in the gaps where the federal government has fallen short.”
“The crisis at our southern border is unlike anything we’ve witnessed before and has put an enormous strain on the existing resources we have in place,” Abbott concluded.
The federal government will foot the bill for Texas’ deployment and all the costs associated with it, a statement from the Governor said.
Since Abbott took office, some 500 Department of Public Safety personnel has been permanently added to the border region.
Abbott’s decision and comments drove the point home that while they don’t see Congress taking the border crisis seriously, Texas certainly does.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.