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"President Biden's open-border policies have led to a humanitarian crisis at our southern border as record levels of illegal immigrants, drugs, and contraband pour into Texas," said Governor Abbott. "While securing the border is the federal government's responsibility, Texas will not sit idly by as this crisis grows. 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."
The Governor's Border Security Summit brought together Texas sheriffs, police chiefs, county judges, mayors, district attorneys, and landowners to hear from state officials on the actions that the State of Texas is taking to secure the southern border and address the ongoing humanitarian crisis. During the summit, the Governor held private sessions with stakeholders to discuss collaborative strategies between state government, local city and county officials, law enforcement, and landowners to secure our border communities.
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During the summit, the Governor announced that individuals who enter Texas illegally will be subject to arrest and confinement for trespassing. This order builds upon the Governor's disaster declaration that directs the Texas Department of Public Safety to enforce all federal and state criminal laws for criminal trespassing, illegal entry, smuggling, and human trafficking. The declaration also directed the Texas Commission on Jail Standards and the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement to work with counties included in the declaration to establish alternative detention facilities to ensure enough jail capacity for illegal immigrants who are arrested for criminal activities such as trespassing. The state is surging resources into border communities to make arrests and to help set up and maintain extra jail space.
Governor Abbott also announced the Governor's Task Force on Border and Homeland Security. This task force will analyze and advise on strategies to stem the flow of unlawful immigrants and illegal contraband into Texas and the United States. The Governor's Task Force will meet bi-weekly to discuss current events concerning our southern border, including illegal immigration and criminal activity, and make recommendations based on the strategies and personnel needed to address this ongoing crisis.
The Task Force will consist of representatives from the following state agencies:
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Office of the Governor
Office of the Attorney General of Texas
Texas Department of Public Safety
Texas Division of Emergency Management
Texas Military Department
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Texas Commission on Law Enforcement
Texas Commission on Jail Standards
Additionally, the Governor declared that the State of Texas and the State of Arizona will invoke the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. Under this interstate compact, Governor Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey are asking other states to send law enforcement officials to assist in making arrests and jailing. Governor Abbott and Governor Ducey are also seeking resources such as drones and helicopters to help landowners who are dealing with damage to their property.
Governor Abbott addressed landowners, ranchers, and farmers from border communities who have suffered damage to their property as a result of the surge in illegal immigration. The Governor offered for the Task Force to work with them on ways to recover their damages.
Governor Abbott noted his intent to sign the state budgets that that appropriates more than one billion dollars to increase border security. The Governor also announced that the State of Texas will be taking decisive action to expand the border barrier. More details will be provided next week.
[Click here to view spanish-language translation of this press release]
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