ANZALDUAS PARK, MISSION, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott addressed the press at the Texas-Mexico border to discuss the state’s border security efforts amid what he calls the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
“This crisis as a result of President Biden’s policies invites illegal immigration and is creating a humanitarian crisis for Texas,” said Gov. Abbott. “His administration is helping the cartels make money and grow stronger.”READ MORE: Head-On Crash Near Glen Rose Leaves 3 Dead, Officials Say
Gov. Abbott spoke to journalists following an aerial tour of the border where he said he saw 21 people get off of a raft that was pulled back to the Mexican side and cross into Texas. He said there were children as well as adults on the raft.
Witnessing illegal immigration first-hand, Abbott was impassioned about the current situation at the border.
“In all of last year, in the Rio Grande valley sector there were about 90,000 apprehensions. Just this year there have been 108,000 apprehensions there,” said Abbott. “More than 800 criminal aliens have been arrested this year, including violent MS-13 gang and drug cartel members.”
The governor also talked about cartels ramping up human trafficking at the border since Biden became president.
“They are involved in every single one of these border crossings that we see. Even more telling, they are involved in every crossing we do not see,” he said. “Biden does not care about Americans. He cares more about people from other countries.”
Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, reiterated what Abbott said about the heavy presence the cartels have at the border.
“They move ammunition, weapons and cash south,” said McCraw.
President of the National Border Patrol Council, Brandon Judd also described how serious the cartel and illegal immigration situation is.
“This is not a Republican vs Democrat issue. It’s an issue that impacts American citizens,” said Judd. “The catch and release program is allowing cartels to prey upon the innocent. Now, because of current policy, cartels are allowed to go into other countries and advertise their services – encouraging women and children to put their fate in their hands.”
The Biden administration re-implemented the Obama-era “catch and release” method of dealing with undocumented migrants caught along the South Texas border with Mexico last month. President Biden’s executive orders significantly changed immigration policies set under the Trump administration. This included revoking an April 6, 2018, presidential memo by Donald Trump titled “Ending ‘Catch and Release’ at the Border of the United States and Directing Other Enhancements to Immigration Enforcement.”READ MORE: Unvaccinated COVID-19 Patients Filling Up Hospitals, Austin Officials Say ICU Capacity Reaching 'Critical Point'
Now migrants are allowed to remain in the United States during their immigration proceedings however many years that may take.
“Get rid of the catch and release program. Give us judges to adjudicate the asylum process as people enter the country,” said Judd. “There are simple solutions. We saw under the Trump administration how illegal immigration went down to historic lows.”
As for Abbott, he had a direct message for the drug cartels: “Texas is sending a message to any cartel member – if you dare to step in the state of Texas we will make sure that the laws are enforced. If you are a cartel, you better take your illegal activity somewhere else, because it will not be accepted in the state of Texas!”
Illegal immigration and cartels aside, Abbott was also extremely concerned about the Biden administration not providing border control agents with the COVID-19 vaccine.
“They should surge vaccines to the Texas/Mexico border this week. Anything less than that is the epitome of inhumanity. Border patrol agents work for the federal government and should be provided vaccines. They are on the front line and that is why I demand the president send vaccines this week!”
MORE NEWS: Police: Texas Man With COVID-19 Arrested After 'Intentionally Breathing' On Family, Assaulting Woman