(Central Square) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other Texas leaders have criticized the immigration plan that President Joe Biden announced Thursday.
The governor told The Center Square that if Biden’s scheduled visit to El Paso on Sunday was just another photo op, like Vice President Kamala Harris went there last June, then he “should stay in DC.”
Abbott, who has repeatedly urged Biden to secure the border, hasn’t heard from him even after urging him last month to handle the humanitarian crisis in El Paso. The Democratic city’s mayor declared a state of emergency after the Biden administration released thousands of people into a western region of Texas hit hard by illegal border crossings. In response, Abbott sent 400 National Guard troops to El Paso to deal with the crisis.
“Two years after taking an oath to uphold the laws of our country, it’s time for President Biden to visit the southern border and resolve the crisis he created,” Abbott told The Center Square. “However, if he plans to just do a photo stunt like the frontier king Harris and turn a blind eye to the suffering of the Texans, he should stay in Washington.
“If President Biden is truly interested in helping border communities and stopping the historic flow of illegal immigration that he has caused, he should see firsthand the ongoing illegal border crossings that border communities are suffering from as a result of his open border policy,” he added.
Thursday Biden said it was expanding the “safe, orderly, and humane” process to allow an additional 360,000 people to enter the US from four countries, and would, among other things, provide funding to Mexico to help manage the flow of people entering the US.
“Our problems at the border did not arise overnight, and they will not be resolved overnight,” Biden said. “It’s a difficult problem.”
On Thursday, the White House released a list of “border measures” that include “expanding legal avenues,” including a parole process for Venezuelans for Nicaraguans, Haitians and Cubans, and “trebling the resettlement of refugees from the Western Hemisphere.” Critics say Biden does not have the authority to change immigration law without congressional approval.
In response, Abbott told The Center Square: “What President Biden proposed today is nothing more than a band-aid for a historic flood. Border security actually means funding and deploying resources to secure the border, but President Biden’s plan creates a bigger magnet for illegal immigration and invites thousands of people every month with the promise of asylum through an app.”
Since March 2021, Abbott and the Texas legislature have committed more than $4 billion to secure the border with Texas, largely through Operation Lone Star. Thanks to him, since March 2021, Texas law enforcement officers have detained more than 336,000 illegal foreign citizens and made more than 23,000 criminal arrests, with more than 20,000 criminal charges filed. They also seized more than 354 million lethal doses of fentanyl, enough to kill more than anyone else in the US.
“For nearly two years now, his reckless open border policy has been enriching the Mexican cartels and undermining our national security as historic levels of illegal immigrants, weapons and deadly drugs like fentanyl flood across the border,” Abbott said.
Retired U.S. Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott, now Distinguished Fellow of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, said: “The way the Biden administration is using parole eligibility appears to be breaking the law and also undermining our legitimate refugee system.”
Referring to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), he said the president is essentially allowing Mexico and the cartels to dictate US immigration policy.
“There is no good reason for the United States to allow Mexico to determine the number of Venezuelans, Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians, or people of any other nationality, that we can return to this country after they illegally crossed from this country to ours,” Scott said.
Scott also points out that in November, CBP agents encountered “over 196,000 adult unmarried illegal immigrants” and “by law, each of them should have been detained or removed immediately.” Instead, the Biden administration released most of them to the US, Scott said, in violation of federal law. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody sued about this and other policies. One of her cases will go to trial Monday in US District Court in Pensacola.
Tom Homan, the former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told The Center Square that Biden’s plan was “nothing but smoke and mirrors.” Now he wants to illegally issue tens of thousands of parolees in order to bypass the legal asylum program. Why? Because he knows, based on immigration court records, that most asylum applications are fraudulent. Thus, he will illegally use parole, which must be issued on a case-by-case basis for a significant public benefit, in order to enter them legally. Then they can declare that illegal entry to the border is prohibited. But only because he legalized illegal immigration.”
Homan is also a fellow at the Immigration Reform Law Institute who filed a lawsuit in support of the Moody’s case.
“The solution to securing the borders is pretty simple,” added Scott, who was Trump’s chief of staff. “We have left a work plan to President Biden: not to release illegal aliens into the US until their claims are investigated and brought to justice.”
The National Border Guard Council, the trade union representing border agents, also disagreed with the president’s statements. The statement said: “Today at a press conference, Biden had the audacity to compare the people who are now trespassing our border with people fleeing the genocide in Germany. Absolute, complete madness. Our border disaster is caused by the failure to enforce our laws, economic conditions in other countries, and cartel profits.”
Texas bears the brunt of illegal immigration and related crime, sharing the 1,254 miles of the 1,954-mile US-Mexico border. More than half of the more than 3.3 million illegal entries were registered in Texas. informed border patrol for all nine sectors of the southwestern border in the fiscal year.
about 1.8 million people. detained or evaded law enforcement after entering Texas illegally in fiscal year 2022, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data obtained by The Center Square. They outnumber the population of every single city in Texas except Houston.