By BETHANY BLANKLEY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott blasted President Joe Biden Friday for making what he called another “reckless” immigration policy decision to terminate the public health rule known as Title 42. By doing so, the number of illegal immigrants expected to enter the country will more than double those who entered illegally last year, law enforcement officials estimate.
“President Biden’s open-border policies are an unmitigated disaster for national security,” Gov. Abbott said in a statement. “His recklessness has forced the State of Texas to take unprecedented steps to fill the gaps – including deploying Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and over 10,000 Texas National Guard soldiers, jailing illegal immigrants who are charged with trespassing, and becoming the first state ever to build a wall to secure the border.
“Instead of listening to the millions of Americans that his administration has endangered – and instead of enforcing immigration laws passed by Congress – President Biden has chosen to jeopardize the safety and security of those very Americans he swore to protect and defend by ending Title 42 expulsions.”
Title 42 is a federal law that can be used during a public health crisis to limit entry into the U.S. The Trump administration utilized it in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control announced it was terminating Title 42 on May 23.
“After considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19 (such as highly effective vaccines and therapeutics), the CDC Director has determined that an Order suspending the right to introduce migrants into the United States is no longer necessary,” the CDC said.
Instead, DHS will be implementing “appropriate COVID-19 mitigation protocols, such as scaling up a program to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to migrants and prepare for resumption of regular migration under Title 8,” it said in a statement.
Gov. Abbott said that ending Title 42 expulsions “will signal to cartels and migrants alike that our southern border is now wide open – inciting even more violence, more trafficking, and more lawlessness.
“President Biden clearly has no intention to secure the border by faithfully executing Congress’ command to detain and deport illegal immigrants,” the Texas governor said. “His actions will only further endanger Texans, and the State of Texas must take even more unprecedented action to keep our communities safe by using any and all constitutional powers to protect its own territory.”
Last March, in response to President Biden’s open border policies, Gov. Abbott launched Operation Lone Star (OLS), a law enforcement initiative to thwart criminal activity at the border. Through OLS, state and local law enforcement officers have been pursuing and apprehending human and drug smugglers, interdicting weapons and drugs and rescuing those who are trafficked.
Last year, the Texas legislature allocated an unprecedented $3 billion to border security efforts and authorized funding to build a wall on Texas soil, the first time any legislature of any state has done so.
In addition to Texas state troopers, local police and sheriffs, roughly 10,000 members of the Texas Army National Guard are stationed at the border providing overwatch, administrative and interdiction support. This week, they helped apprehend suspected human traffickers and illegal immigrants. Law enforcement personnel also rescued a woman stuffed in a duffle bag inside of a burning van as the smuggler fled on foot, leaving women left to die in the desert, authorities said.
The Texas National Guard also this week apprehended a group of 16 men wearing camouflage, military clothing, and carpeted boots. Wearing covers over boots is done intentionally to avoid leaving footprints in the sand and dirt to make it harder for law enforcement to track them. However, Texas guardsmen tracked them into the thick vegetation that lines the Rio Grande River and apprehended them.
On Thursday, DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez told Fox News that once Title 42 is revoked, “what we’re going to see” at the border, “is complete chaos. We’re already over 800,000 for the first five months of the fiscal year,” referring to illegal immigrants, he said. “And now we’re going to hit one million after these first six months are complete. This border crisis continues to escalate compared to last year. We are on track to hit well over 2 million by the end of this fiscal year.”
Over the past year, multi-agency efforts in Texas have resulted in the apprehensions of more than 225,000 illegal immigrants, more than 13,027 criminal arrests, and more than 10,400 felony charges.
OLS efforts have led to the confiscation of more than 3,500 weapons and nearly $30 million in currency brought illegally into the U.S. In their fight against fentanyl, DPS officers have seized over 289 million lethal doses statewide.