Gov. Greg Abbott to Newsmax: Texas Now Sending Migrants Back to BorderTexas state law enforcement officials are going to send illegal migrants apprehended in the state back to the southern border, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told Newsmax on Thursday.
''On top of building a border wall, on top of deploying military to the border, on top of laying down razor wire, [Thursday] we announced that every illegal immigrant that we encounter we are returning to the border,'' Abbott, a Republican, said on ''The Chris Salcedo Show.''
The federal government is responsible for enforcing immigration law, but Abbott has mobilized his state to do the work that he says the federal government has failed to do.
''Joe Biden has an open border policy where he wants all these illegal immigrants to come into the United States, and we're sending a message to everybody who goes through this incredible struggle, to get across the border that, by God, if they're going to be apprehended by Texas law enforcement officer or Texas National Guard member, they're going to be taken right back to the border.''
Illegal crossings are at or near the highest levels in about two decades. On the Texas border, U.S. authorities stopped migrants from crossing illegally 523,000 times between January and May, up from 417,000 over the same span a year ago.
Abbott has blamed the Biden administration and spent more than $3 billion in state funds on a massive border security apparatus. But the state operation has not stemmed the flow of migrants.
''As the challenges on the border continue to increase, Texas will continue to take action to address those challenges caused by the Biden administration,'' Abbott told The Associated Press.
Abbott noted that the priority remains stopping migrants who enter the U.S. illegally from coming to Texas, a process he calls turn-backs, but the influx of mass illegal migration ultimately still renders go-aways.
''The fact of the matter is there are so many that are coming in now because of Biden's open border policies that we will not be able to turn back everybody,'' Abbott told host Chris Salcedo. ''Some people will make it across the border. Those who do make it across the border, we're going to take right back to the border.''
The announcement comes two days after former Trump administration officials and sheriffs in several south Texas called on Abbott to declare what they have called an ''invasion'' and use extraordinary powers normally reserved for war. Their plan involves a novel interpretation of the U.S. Constitution to have the National Guard or state police forcibly send migrants to Mexico.
The Center for Renewing America, a conservative policy think tank led by former Trump administration officials, has been driving the effort and criticized Abbott's order since it does not call for expelling migrants.
''That is critical. Otherwise this is still catch and release,'' the group said in a statement.
Abbott, who is seeking another term as governor, faces candidates including Democrat Beto O'Rourke, a former Texas congressman, in the Nov. 8 general election.