EAGLE PASS, Texas — Four non-border-state governors joined Texas Governor Greg Abbott for a tour of one of the busiest border crossing regions in the country. The governors traveled to the Rio Grande to see first-hand the results of their states’ contributions to the Texas border security mission.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem joined Governor Abbott to tour the border and discuss their respective state’s commitment to border security on Monday. During a joint press on the banks of the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass after the border tour, Abbott highlighted the cooperation between the states to reduce migrant crossings and combat Mexican cartel activity.
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, Adjutant General of Texas Major General Thomas Suelzer, and Texas Border Czar Mike Banks joined Abbott in a presentation on the impact of Operation Lone Star. The governors each spoke about the impact of the border crisis on their respective states.
Abbott thanked the governors for responding to a letter he sent in May to other state governors shortly after the end of the emergency CDC Title 42 COVID-19 migrant expulsion authority, saying:
Fifteen governors have deployed personnel to secure the border. Altogether, if you add the other states that support us, twenty-five, half of the states in the United States of America are banding together to step up to secure a border that President Biden has abandoned.
South Dakota Governor Noem described the conditions observed during the tour as a “war zone.”
“What I saw today is a war zone, and it’s astonishing to me to watch it perpetuated by the federal government and President Biden,” Noem stated. On the issue of the Mexican cartel’s activity in the border region, she added, “I sent my National Guard because I recognized what we were facing, that this really is a war, a war for our country, our federal laws and sovereignty.”
“The cartels are out for blood, and they are facilitating the trafficking of our children each and every day,” the South Dakota governor concluded.
Groups of residents held signs in support of and against the enhanced border security measures taken by the State of Texas along the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass.
As the governors addressed reporters, a host of multi-state law enforcement officers posted near concertina wire, and a makeshift cargo container border barrier erected along the Rio Grande meant to reduce migrant crossings as part of Governor Abbott’s Operation Lone Star. Thus far, according to Abbott, Texas has spent more than $4.5 billion to provide enhanced security through law enforcement and military deployments along border.
The press conference was just a few miles from a controversial floating border barrier system Abbott recently installed in the Rio Grande.
The United States Department of Justice is currently suing the State of Texas for the installation of the floating border buoy system in Eagle Pass. Breitbart Texas reported that the governor announced the project after passing several border security bills during the most recent legislative session.
Mexico has also urged the Biden administration to have the barrier removed for humanitarian reasons. In a recent meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Alicia Barcena, Mexico’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs, expressed Mexico’s opposition to the floating border barrier.
During a joint press briefing with Blinken, Barcena offered the following:
I would like to refer to one in particular that we did have occasion to talk about, which is the matter of the buoys in Texas. We are very much concerned about this topic and grateful that the Department of Justice of the United States has brought a suit against the government of Texas. This helps us tremendously because what we are talking about is a very delicate situation on the border, on the Rio Grande – Río Bravo, as we call it – but most of the buoys are on the Mexican side.
In response to Mexico’s assertion that the buoys were installed on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, Governor Abbott told reporters at Monday’s press event that out of an abundance of caution, the state moved the barriers closer to the Texas bank of the Rio Grande. The matter of the buoys is set to be heard in federal court on Tuesday.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.
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