Texas Governor Discusses Future Plans on Securing US-Mexico Border
AUSTIN – The state said they are waiting to see the new administration’s strategy before elaborating on future border security operations.
On Wednesday, CHANNEL 5 NEWS got six minutes of candid conversation with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott about the border in Austin. His staff said there were certain questions he couldn’t answer because of classified information.
Gov. Abbott said the extra DPS troopers and the Texas National Guard will remain in place until the federal government does more.
Abbott claimed the border is more dangerous than ever. Without disclosing many details, he said there have been cases of people from terrorist-sponsored nations crossing the border.
“Most of the people coming across the border are not from Mexico. They are from other countries, some of which are Central American, but some of which are from Africa, Asia… across the entire globe,” he said.
The state is assigned $800 million for border security. Abbott said it’s unclear if the state will spend that much or more in the future. He said it all depends on what the president-elect’s new administration does.
“I think effective border security does require more Border Patrol agents, more technology, more boats in the water, as well as walls and fencing,” he said.
Gov. Abbott said the border operations have decreased crime and cross-border activity in Hidalgo and Starr counties. However, they have increased in counties west of the Rio Grande Valley.
“That just showed that the program works. It means the cartels are taking their business elsewhere. So what it means is that we need to be able to expand our capabilities -- and again this is a federal government responsibility,” he said.
The governor of Texas said he looks forward to working with the new administration to secure the border.
Abbott said part of the plan is to crack down on companies who hire undocumented workers. He said the E-Verify program will likely be expanded for contractors and sub-contractors who do business with the state.
“We want to have an E-Verify system, but we want to make sure it’s one that’s working, that doesn’t misidentify people and cause logistical problems for businesses. But, it is an overall proponent to the overall process of securing our border,” he said.
The 85th legislative session starts Jan. 10.