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Amid Title 42’s ending, Abbott directs TDEM to bus migrants to D.C.

7 months 2 weeks 6 days ago Thursday, April 07 2022 Apr 7, 2022 April 07, 2022 10:27 AM April 07, 2022 in News - Local

With expectations of a massive immigration surge resulting from the Biden administration announcing the end of Title 42, Governor Greg Abbott told members of the media the state would soon be responding in two ways, with more measures to be announced next week. 

One of those measures would begin the process of bussing migrants to Washington D.C. That operation, Abbott said, is being handled by the Texas Department of Emergency Management.

“To help local officials whose communities are being overwhelmed by hordes of illegal immigrants — who are being dropped off by the Biden administration — Texas is providing chartered buses to send these illegal immigrants who have been dropped off to Washington D.C.,” he said. “We are sending them to the United States Capitol where the Biden Administration will be able to more immediately address the needs of the people that they are allowing to cross our border.”

RELATED: Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to bus migrants to Washington, D.C., will be voluntary

TDEM Chief Nim Kidd soon reported to Abbott.

“Our team has already begun communication with our local officials to identify pickup, location points, resources have been ordered, and we’ll be ready to implement our part of this plan (Thursday) morning,” Kidd said. 

When asked how many buses would be traveling to D.C.,Kidd wasn’t able to provide the specifics, but stated they have used as many as 900 buses for evacuation-related operations.

“We will use as many buses as we need to follow the Governor’s direction to get this done,” he said.

The second measure announced will begin enhanced safety inspections of commercial vehicles coming through Texas from Mexico. 

“A zero-tolerance policy for unsafe vehicles for smuggling across the border is being implemented immediately,” Abbott said. “Cartels use vehicles — many of them dangerous commercial trucks — to smuggle immigrants, deadly fentanyl and other illegal cargo into Texas and onto our roadways. Effective immediately, the Texas Department of Public Safety will conduct enhanced safety inspections of vehicles as they cross the international points of entry into Texas.”

Abbott stated that the directive would likely cause an influx of traffic for those traveling from Mexico into Texas, an effect he said is a byproduct of cartels crossing the border. 

After signing off the directive addressed to Col. Steve McCraw, the Texas DPS Director said the department would be in operation as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.

“We already do this at these bridges anyway — we conduct safety checks — so we’re only expanding it,” McCraw said. “(Even though we) only do a small percentage right now, it’s very important, especially in lieu of how many (are) coming across — how many came across in 2021… The purpose of a safety inspection is just that — it’s the safety of that vehicle and the safety of that driver.”

Channel 5 News later asked if those inspections normally required probable cause.

“We don’t need probable cause to do safety commercial enforcement inspections, and that’s what we’re doing,” McCraw replied. “It’s not a subterfuge to locate crime — it’s simply to make sure that those vehicles are safe when they enter Texas.”

Abbott also announced that DPS and the Texas Military Department (TMD) would soon be preparing additional boat blockades, the deployment of razor-wire at low-water crossings and high-traffic areas, and the installation of container blockades to control the flow of illegal crossings.

It was also stated that TMD would soon begin the first phase of mass-migration rehearsals this week, and all DPS troopers and specially trained Texas National Guard soldiers will be given riot gear in case of violence among caravans and migrants. 

These measures also follow Texas National Guard adjutant general Maj. Gen. Thomas Suelzer asking for an additional $531 in funding in order to continue operations. Abbott said, those costs are a part of the reality associated with the border.

“Securing the border does not come cheap,” he said. “Securing the border would cost Texas nothing if the federal government was doing its job, but because Joe Biden is not securing the border, the state of Texas is having to step up and spend Texas taxpayer money doing the federal government’s job. Texans have a backbone and the will to secure our border. Two things that Joe Biden does not have.”

The announcements came shortly after Abbott had met with local officials in Uvalde, a city west of San Antonio and nearby the Texas-Mexico border.

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