KEY POINTS

  • Abbott said the border situation in Texas was a “disaster”
  • Civil rights groups said states do not have the authority to enforce federal immigration laws
  • Some counties have also spoken up against Abbott’s latest move, saying the situation was “not an emergency”
  • Crime and deaths among immigrants have allegedly increased in some border counties

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has stepped up work in reducing the number of migrants passing through the state, with an order to the National Guard to assist authorities in enforcing arrests on illegal migrants.

In a letter to Major Gen. Tracy R. Norris of the Texas Military Department, Abbott said he orders “the Texas National Guard assist DPS in enforcing Texas law by arresting lawbreakers at the border,” The Texas Tribune reported. Abbott said the goal was to “respond to this disaster and secure the rule of law.”

Abbott has previously blamed the Biden administration for its alleged lax enforcement of immigration laws, which has resulted in more migrants crossing the southern border counties.

Over the last few months, the influx of migrants passing through the southwestern border has been felt. In June alone, around 188,829 attempted crossings were blocked by local enforcers. The said number is “the highest in a month this year, so far.”

As of Monday, 30 immigrants were arrested and taken into custody at the Briscoe Unit in Dilley as part of Abbott’s heightened border security measures. They were arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass, according to The Texas Tribune.

On Tuesday, three more migrants were arrested and sent to state prison, The Wall Street Journal reported. However, some advocates for civil rights groups have raised concerns about the latest move.

According to advocates, states do not have the authority to enforce federal immigration laws. Several counties have also raised issues with Abbott’s declaration of a disaster on the border situation, as well as the deployment of state troopers.

Rio Grande Valley’s Hidalgo County, for instance, has refused to participate in Abbott’s border control plan. Democratic county judge of the county, Richard Cortez, said the local unit “could not in good faith tell the people of our counties there is an emergency when there’s not an emergency.”

Meanwhile, some counties in Texas have expressed concerns about the alleged surge of crime and death in some areas. Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West told FOX News that the community has experienced break-ins by illegal migrants. West told the outlet that some of the perpetrators try to steal food and water, and then they “continue on their journey.”

West added that there has also been an increase in deaths among migrants this year. He said there have been at least 18 deaths, compared to up to five annually in the previous years among immigrants who couldn’t make the border trip to the United States.

A group of undocumented migrants from Honduras and Guatemala get off a Mexican trafficker's boat on the US side of the border near Roma, Texas, on March 28 2021 A group of undocumented migrants from Honduras and Guatemala get off a Mexican trafficker's boat on the US side of the border near Roma, Texas, on March 28 2021 Photo: AFP / Ed JONES