With thousands of adults and children entering Texas illegally, Gov. Greg Abbott is looking to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help secure the border with Mexico.
Abbott says recent U.S. Border Patrol reports show that 10,000 adults and children illegally crossed in August, which is almost double the number in August of 2014.
"Texas will continue to be assertive in securing our border," Abbott wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. "But given recent reports that our southern border has become more porous — not less, it is clearer than ever that the federal government must act to reverse the tide of this mounting crisis."
The governor is requesting 250 more agents for Texas, along other resources to secure the border.
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Gov. Abbott Letter - Border Homeland Security (Text)
NBC 5 reached out to the Department of Homeland Security about the request. In response, DHS spokesman S.Y. Lee said the following:
"DHS will respond directly to the Governor.
"Total apprehensions across our entire Southwest border remain at near-historic lows. Over the last 15 years, our government has invested more in border security than at any point in the history of this Nation. Apprehensions on the Southern border, an indicator of total attempts to cross the border, has dramatically declined to 400,000-450,000 per year. In Fiscal Year 2014, total apprehensions along the southern border were 479,000. For FY 2015, apprehensions are expected to be down significantly to approximately 330,000— only one time since 1972 has that number been lower.
"Today, the Border Patrol consists of 20,499 Border Patrol Agents, and the largest-ever level of technology and equipment. DHS continues to focus on and invest in technology, surveillance equipment, and a risk-based strategy towards border security and that is reflected in the Department’s budget submission for FY 2016.
"Without a doubt, we had an unprecedented number of unaccompanied children and others who crossed a narrow area of our southern border in the Rio Grande Valley last summer, in search of a better and safer life in this country. We responded aggressively to this spike, and the numbers of unaccompanied children and others crossing into the Rio Grande Valley dropped dramatically.
"At the same time, general conditions related to the economy and violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have not improved and continue to serve as push factors leading to migration northward. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is conducting a renewed public awareness campaign to distribute information to Central American and Mexican communities concerning the dangers of the journey, dispelling misinformation about our immigration policies, and underscoring that those attempting to come here illegally are a top priority for removal."