WESLACO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – In a mix of policy and politics, Gov. Greg Abbott and former President Donald Trump toured the southern border in the Rio Grande Valley.
During a briefing at the Texas Department of Public Safety headquarters in Weslaco, the governor briefed the former president about the state’s efforts to respond to the large increase of migrants crossing into Texas illegally. “We’re doing this because our fellow Texans, and our fellow Americans, they’re being threatnened every single day.”
Statistics from the U.S. Border Patrol show since the fiscal year began Oct. 1 and through the end of May, there were nearly 585,000 people who were apprehended in Texas.
That’s an increase of more than 400,000 people from the same time period a year earlier.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton also attended the briefing, along with some former administrators from the Trump administration, including Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf and Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Thomas Homan.
Republican Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn spoke during the briefing and warned about the rise in the dangerous drug of fentanyl being smuggled from Mexico to North Texas. “A year ago, fentanyl was barely on our radar. Well today, the intelligence that I have is that it has flooded our area. Even low-level dealers are now having large quantities of fentanyl.”
Following the briefing, the governor and former president toured a part of the unfinished border wall in Pharr.
In what appeared to be a campaign rally, Abbott and Trump addressed various Republican members of Congress and Republican state senators and House members.
They criticized the Biden administration for stopping the diversion of funds from the U.S. military to build the border wall.
The governor said, “This is Biden’s fault because President Biden is not continuing what President Trump began.”
In response, Abbott recently announced that Texas is building its own wall and made a $250 million down payment.
Abbott praised the former president’s efforts to improve border security. “He did more than any other President has ever done to secure our border.”
The idea of building a border wall came from former State Sen. Don Huffines, of Dallas, who’s now challenging the governor in the Republican primary.
But Abbott got the coveted political prize.
The former president reminded supporters that he recently endorsed the governor. “I gave him a complete a total endorsement. I guess a lot of people who were thinking of running, they say we’re never going to beat this guy. They shouldn’t be able to beat you. You’ve done a great job.”
Trump has also endorsed Patrick for re-election, but hasn’t yet endorsed Paxton, who’s still facing state fraud charges and challenges from Republicans George P. Bush, the Texas Land Commissioner, and Eva Guzman, who recently resigned from her job as a Texas Supreme Court justice.
Both have said they are seeking a Trump endorsement.
The former president told Paxton, “Good luck Ken, I know you have a race, a little race, coming up. I’ll be making an endorsement of somebody in the very near future.”
The Texas Democratic Party blasted the governor in a statement saying, “Governor Abbott, come back to Austin and fix the damn grid. Today’s huddle between Trump and Abbott proves what we already knew: the GOP has nothing constructive to offer, so Texas Republicans are continuing to look to the past.”
Trump criticized the Biden administration and Democrats. “The real question is do they really want open borders or are they incompetent?”
Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris said she and President Joe Biden inherited a broken and inhumane immigration system.
Presidential administrations have changed, but there’s still no action by Congress to solve the problem at the southern border.