Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez responds to Abbott's declaration
Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration Tuesday in response to what his office called a “border crisis” along Texas' southern border.
According to a news release from the Governor’s office, the disaster declaration provides more resources and strategies to respond to the increase of undocumented migrants crossing the border.
“The Governor is authorizing the use of all necessary and available state and local resources to protect landowners in these counties from trespassers and the damage they cause to private property," the news release stated. “The Governor has also directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to enforce all federal and state criminal laws, including criminal trespassing, smuggling, and human trafficking. The Governor directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to take all necessary steps to discontinue state licensure of any child care facility under a contract with the federal government that shelters or detains unlawful immigrants.”
In response to the Governor’s disaster declaration, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez noted that the county has seen a “greater number of immigrants crossing into Texas.”
“Apparently, Governor Abbott has information that we don’t have. In speaking to local law enforcement, they have not reported levels of criminal activity that would require a disaster proclamation,” Judge Cortez said in his statement. “I have repeatedly suggested to our federal government to address comprehensive immigration reform because our current laws need change to address what we want and what we don’t want.”
Judge Cortez also said in his statement that President Biden’s continued closure of the local ports of entry is negatively affecting businesses.
“Governor Abbott’s pressure against the Biden administration would be much more welcome in the form of calling for these ports of entry to be reopened so that the free flow of trade can begin to return to normal,” Cortez stated.