- - Tuesday, September 20, 2022

As the land of unparalleled freedom and opportunity, America represents the hopes and dreams for people the world over. It is imperative, however, that our nation’s leaders clearly and unequivocally assert that America is a nation of laws. We simply cannot allow, or encourage, the mass illegal immigration and chaos our country is currently experiencing along the southern border.

President Biden‘s dangerous refusal to address the crisis on America’s southern border has opened the floodgates of illegal immigration that threatens to destabilize communities across south Texas, allows Mexican cartels and other transnational criminal organizations to operate freely and profit off the chaos, and profoundly disrespects the millions of Americans who gained citizenship through the established legal pathways.

Under President Trump, we experienced record low numbers of illegal border crossings. However, President Biden has recklessly dismantled every effective policy that contained mass illegal immigration and provided the tools necessary for law enforcement to maintain border security. These willful actions have signaled to the world that ignoring America’s immigration laws is acceptable. Even U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said as much when he testified under oath that increases in mass migration occur “when there are no consequences.”

Whether President Biden views the border crisis as Texas’ problem or it is just politically inconvenient for him to do his job, mass illegal immigration is a humanitarian crisis for those putting their lives in the hands of ruthless coyotes or smugglers and a national security crisis for all Americans.

As Governor of Texas, I have had to take unprecedented actions to fill in the dangerous gaps left by the Biden administration’s disastrous policies, including allocating more than $3 billion over the past 18 months for border security. In March 2021, I launched Operation Lone Star, deploying thousands of Texas National Guard soldiers and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers to employ air, ground, and tactical border assets to secure the border. Texas is also the only state in our nation’s history to build its own border wall in response to the federal government’s shameful negligence.

As of early September, Operation Lone Star has led to more than 300,000 migrant apprehensions, nearly 20,000 criminal arrests, and more than 17,000 felony charges. Texas has also seized more than 336 million lethal doses of fentanyl—more than enough to kill every man, woman, and child in America. Additionally, terrorists on the Terrorist Watchlist illegally crossing the border skyrocketed by 400% in fiscal year 2021 and 420% in 2022.

This April, the State of Texas began busing migrants to Washington, D.C., to help our overrun border communities, with New York City and Chicago recently added as destinations. With more than two million illegal immigrants crossing the southern border over the past 11 months—overwhelming Texas border towns with limited resources and oftentimes populations of fewer than 50,000—these sanctuary cities have proudly touted offering services and support to people in these exact circumstances.

Texas’ inundated border towns are now receiving a measure of relief, and importantly, the magnitude of this ongoing crisis is finally gaining the national attention it deserves. Americans are now witnessing a startling national security failure that the President continues to dismiss.

The hostile responses from these sanctuary city mayors further illustrates what Texans on the frontlines of this crisis have been burdened with for almost two years. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called the situation a “humanitarian crisis” and requested twice for the federal government to deploy the National Guard to help manage the flow of migrants into her city. She also recently declared the busing of a few thousand migrants into Washington, D.C. a public emergency.

After refusing to acknowledge President Biden‘s role in creating the crisis, New York City Mayor Eric Adams secretly sent a delegation of staffers to the Texas-Mexico border on a fact-finding mission, but has yet to accept my invitation to visit the border and see the crisis firsthand. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has yet to call on President Biden to secure the border, instead attacking me and my Christian faith.

Despite the outrage and contempt expressed by the sanctuary city mayors, the busing mission will continue as long as President Biden refuses to enforce our nation’s laws. The crisis at the border is not for Texas or any other border state to handle alone. It is up to our nation’s leaders to stand up for the rule of law that makes America so exceptional.

• Named “Best Governor in the Nation” in his current second term, Greg Abbott continues to build on his record as a strong conservative leader who fights to preserve Texas values and ensure an even brighter future for all Texans by expanding economic opportunity, promoting education excellence, protecting individual liberties, and securing the Texas border in the face of federal inaction. Prior to his election as governor in 2014, Greg Abbott was the longest-serving Attorney General of Texas.

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