The Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety can apprehend immigrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border or otherwise violate federal law. These immigrants will be returned to the border via ports of entry, the executive order states.
The governor’s office said in a news release that President Joe Biden’s decision to end federal Title 42 expulsions and the "Remain in Mexico" policy has led to “historic levels of illegal crossings.” Roughly 5,000 immigrants were arrested over the July Fourth weekend, according to the release.
Abbott said foreign cartels have been “emboldened and enriched” by the current federal border policies, resulting in the smuggling of people, weapons and drugs.
On June 29, Abbott announced Texas will add new vehicle checkpoints for semitrucks crossing the border from Mexico. Days before the announcement, over 50 migrants died after being left in a sweltering truck near San Antonio.
The DPS and the Texas Military Department will also increase officers near the border, deploy extra boat teams, set up more razor wire along the Rio Grande and add fencing to local border property.
Since January 2021, at least 42 people on the terrorist watchlist have been arrested while crossing the border, according to the executive order.
“President [Joe] Biden’s failure to protect our border has necessitated action by the state of Texas to ensure public safety and to defend against violations of its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Abbott said in the order.
Earlier on July 7, Abbott designated an additional $30 million in grants to help local cities and counties enhance border security through Operation Lone Star. The grants will be administered by the governor’s Public Safety Office and will include funding to prevent criminal activity around the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a news release.
The funding is split into two categories. Beginning July 11, any city or county in Texas can apply to receive a portion of $16 million. On Sept. 1, $14 million will become available for counties near the border.
More information about the grant is available on the governor’s website. Abbott’s office asks applicants to contact the Public Safety Office at [email protected] or 512-463-1919 with questions.