By BETHANY BLANKLEY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) –Nine Republican governors met with Gov. Greg Abbott Monday to discuss a joint border security plan. They did so after they, along with 15 of their colleagues, last week pledged to support Texas’ border security mission, Operation Lone Star.
Idaho and Florida already began sending personnel and resources; the briefing was a way to discuss efforts underway and how multistate resources would be deployed.
Adjutant General of the Texas Military Department Major General Thomas Suelzer, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, and Texas Border Czar Mike Banks also gave the governors “on-the-ground intelligence about the border crisis,” the governor’s office said.
Gov. Abbott provided an overview of OLS strategies being employed to deter foreign nationals from illegally entering along the southern border. Nearly 300 known, suspected terrorists have been apprehended at both the northern and southern border this fiscal year. Gov. Abbott noted that 16 known, suspected terrorists were apprehended last month.
Mr. McCraw discussed the methods Mexican cartels are employing to control the trafficking and smuggling of drugs and people across the southern border, arguing “President Biden’s open border policies” were incentivizing “mass illegal immigration and cartel activity along the border.” He said while the state and DPS have prepared for mass migration scenarios, they aren’t prepared for “the level of global migration invited by the federal government’s inaction at the border.”
Gen. Suelzer gave examples of tactics Texas National Guard soldiers are deploying, showing maps of where barriers have been and are being constructed along the border. He also discussed how other states’ National Guard troops or law enforcement officers “could be integrated into Operation Lone Star to help fill the gaps created by President Biden’s open border policies.”
Mr. Banks took aim at the claim made by the Biden administration and Democrats that 90% of fentanyl was being seized at ports of entry when Border Patrol agents have testified to the contrary. Mr. Banks, a retired Border Patrol agent, also highlighted the record number of 1.7 million gotaways, those who’ve illegally entered and evaded capture and law enforcement officers don’t know who or where they are.
The governors who participated in the briefing included Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
The briefing was held as the number of those illegally entering through the southern border in the first four months of this year outnumbers the population of six states.