Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asked President Biden to declare a border emergency, saying Monday that things have spiraled into chaos and federal money is needed to reimburse the state for some of the billions of dollars being spent trying to control the crisis.
“The State of Texas is doing more than any state has ever done to protect the border, but more is needed,” the Republican governor said in a letter to Mr. Biden.
He said things have been troubling for some time but grew unbearable in recent days as illegal immigrants erected a camp on the banks of the Rio Grande in Del Rio. At its peak, the camp had about 16,000 migrants, compared to a total population of about 35,000 in Del Rio.
Mr. Abbott said the migrants overwhelmed the locals’ capacity, creating an unsafe situation for everyone.
Declaring an emergency would be a major political mea culpa for Mr. Biden, who has insisted this year’s surge of illegal immigrants is business as usual and happens “every year.” In fact, the surge has already set a record for most illegal immigrant children and is flirting with the overall record for most Border Patrol arrests.
Texas has taken the brunt of the surge, with local officials even blaming some of the resurgence of coronavirus in the state on migrants.
Mr. Abbott has deployed the National Guard and state law enforcement to make arrests and add more manpower to help overwhelmed federal agents.
He said that should earn federal emergency assistance.
“I have determined that the disaster caused from individuals unlawfully crossing the Texas-Mexico border is of such severity that supplementary federal assistance is necessary to lessen the threat of disaster, save lives, and protect property, public health, and safety,” the governor wrote.