AUSTIN–Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter Oct. 7 to President Joe Biden formally requesting an appeal of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of an emergency disaster declaration for the State of Texas as a result of the crisis at the Texas-Mexico Border. Governor Abbott initially submitted this request Sept. 20, noting that the federal government’s failure to enforce immigration laws and in particular, its failure to halt illegal crossings on federal property, which is the sole jurisdiction of the federal government, led to substantial burdens on local and state resources. The failure of the federal government to intervene led to a surge of more than 16,000 migrants at the Del Rio International Bridge for several days. When FEMA denied this request Sept. 29, the Governor immediately announced his intention to appeal.
“Texas will stand with the federal government in responding to this border crisis but should not have to stand alone or withstand the financial burden without federal assistance,” reads the letter. “This crisis has taken a serious toll on the Texas border communities, first responders and the local non-profit sector. Local officials and Texas citizens are fatigued and running out of resources to respond to the ongoing border crisis. The citizens of Texas are resilient and will continue to respond, recover and mitigate against this crisis but in order to expedite this process, federal assistance is needed for these vulnerable populations.”
Governor Abbott has taken significant action to secure the border in the wake of the federal government’s inaction. Those actions include:
• Signing laws that provide $3 billion in funding for Texas’ border security efforts.
• Launching Operation Lone Star and deploying thousands of National Guard soldiers and Department of Public Safety troopers.
• Creating a system to arrest and jail illegal migrants trespassing or committing other state crimes in Texas.
• Signing a budget authorization to build the border wall in Texas.
• Signing a law to make it easier to prosecute smugglers bringing people into Texas.
• Signing nine laws cracking down on human trafficking in Texas.
• Signing a law enhancing penalties for the manufacturing and distribution of fentanyl.
• Issuing a disaster declaration for the border crisis.
• Issuing an executive order preventing non-governmental entities from transporting illegal immigrants.
• Taking legal action to enforce the Remain in Mexico and Title 42 policies in Texas.