Governor Abbott requests federal emergency declaration in response to border crisis

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott makes a statement during a news conference, Monday, Nov. 4,...
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott makes a statement during a news conference, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)(Tony Gutierrez | AP)
Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 1:22 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter to President Joe Biden Monday requesting a federal emergency declaration for the state due to the escalating crisis at the Texas-Mexico border.

“I submit this request due to the overwhelming surge of individuals unlawfully attempting to cross the Texas-Mexico border in Val Verde County. These illegal crossings are aided by a dam on federal property, and thus under the jurisdiction of the federal government, which allows individuals to easily traverse the Rio Grande River,” the letter states.

“The rush of migrants increased from approximately 4,000 individuals on Wednesday, September 15, 2021, to over 16,000 migrants on Saturday, September 18, 2021. The entrance of illegal immigrants shows no signs of slowing,” the letter continues.

“This surge poses life-threatening risks to residents of Val Verde County and is quickly overrunning law enforcement and health care and humanitarian resources which were never intended to be used in this capacity. Even the limited federal resources in the area are strained by the large number of individuals illegally crossing into Texas.”

Abbott on Monday announced the availability of $100-million in grant funding through the Operation Lone Star Grant Program to support border security operations in the region.

CBS DFW reported a massive encampment of migrants, mostly from Haiti, has raised a public health concern due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the government is not vaccinating the migrants at this time.

CBS DFW further reported the U.S. Border Patrol is coordinating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the US Coast Guard to move people from Del Rio to other processing locations along the border.

Authorities have moved approximately 3,300 migrants over the last two days, and expect to have up to 3,000 migrants transferred out from underneath the Del Rio International bridge within the next 24 hours, US Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said in a press conference Sunday.

The Department of Homeland Security is securing additional transportation to increase removal flights to Haiti and other locations in the western hemisphere for migrants who violate immigration law, Mayorkas said in a press conference Monday.

Mayorkas explained that many Haitian immigrants are being fed false information from smugglers and smuggling organizations that U.S. borders are open, he describes this situation as “devastating and heart breaking.”

He warned those who come to the United States illegally will be putting their lives, and the lives of their families, in danger and will be sent back to their country of origin.

Copyright 2021 KWTX. All rights reserved.