MISSION, Texas (Nexstar) — On Wednesday, nine Republican governors joined Gov. Greg Abbott to demand the Biden administration act on the crisis at the U.S./Mexico border.
Abbott said he and 25 other GOP governors sent a letter to President Joe Biden 16 days ago, but still have not heard back.
Instead, he and the other governors outlined what action they suggest the federal government take to mitigate the crisis.
“One, the Biden ministration must reinstate the remain in Mexico protocols which require asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while awaiting their court hearing. This is a proven deterrent to crossing illegally. Second, the Biden administration must finish securing the border, which includes among other things, finishing the border wall. Third, the Biden administration must enforce title 42 Health restrictions at the border,” Gov. Abbott said Wednesday.
In the same breath, the Governor touted the state’s response to the crisis so far, called Operation Lone Star.
“Our job is to secure the health and safety and security of our constituents. And if Joe Biden is not going to do it. The governors of the United States of America will do,” Gov. Abbott said. “I have deployed thousands of National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and officers to secure the border.”
In July, the Governor empowered DPS troopers and guardsmen to arrest migrants for criminal trespassing.
“If you come into the state of Texas illegally, you have a high likelihood of not getting caught and released but instead arrested and jailed,” Abbott said.
But more arrests means more for local officials to process. Val Verde county attorney David Martinez has dismissed or rejected about half the cases that have come to his desk, he testified before lawmakers in committee on Monday this week.
He relayed one in particular that concerned him, and explained in an interview with Nexstar.
“Based on an interview with some of the defendants, that it was relayed to me that the individuals the 11 individuals were asked or made to to walk about 20 to 25 minutes, maybe 30 minutes from the place that they were apprehended. And then according to them, they were made to jump a fence,” Martinez explained.
He said it was not clear if it was law enforcement’s intent for the confusion, but he said without all of the pieces to the report, he was unable to discern if these migrants had done anything with criminal intent.
“I didn’t know that I had the necessary evidence to prove all the elements of criminal trespass,” Martinez said, dropping all 11 cases.
Martinez added he understands why the state is stepping up its enforcement lately, but emphasized it’s going to take the state and the federal government working together to fully address the crisis.
“We’re all hearing that there are, you know, more caravans heading towards the Texas Mexico border. No one knows exactly where. I just hope that both state and federal agencies are better prepared to to respond if and when that happens,” Martinez said.
Nexstar reached out to California and New Mexico’s governors, both Democrats, to see if they received an invite to Wednesday’s event.
A spokesperson for New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said she is unaware of an invite, and that her office does not intend to contribute to the partisan politicization of the border crisis.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office did not respond.