Texas Border

Texas Gov. Abbott Meets With Florida Gov. DeSantis About Border Security

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis deployed law enforcement officers to the Texas border with Mexico in response to a call for assistance

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) hosted a briefing on border security Saturday afternoon with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

The briefing took place in Del Rio, a city about 160 miles west of San Antonio along the border with Mexico.

"What's happening here at the border may be happening here today but it may be happening in these other states tomorrow, next week or next month," Abbott said.

The meeting between the two Republican governors follows a June letter from Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) in which they issued a call for help from fellow governors under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

The letter requested "additional manpower" to help apprehend people attempting to illegally cross the border into the United States. DeSantis deployed law enforcement officers to the border in response.

"We appreciate you stepping up where the federal government won't and we understand how important this is to not just Texas, but other states," DeSantis said.

Abbott, who in June announced plans to build a wall along the state's border with Mexico, has repeatedly criticized Democrat President Joe Biden's administration's handling of the border and immigration.

Abbott and Ducey's letter said the administration has "proven unwilling or unable to do the job" of securing the border.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection numbers released Friday, the agency recorded 188,829 encounters on the Mexican border in June, the most since March 2000 and an increase of about 5% over May.

The majority of encounters were single adults, though encounters of unaccompanied children increased by 8% to 15,253 in June, well below the high of 18,663 unaccompanied children encountered in March by the Border Patrol.

The number of children in CBP custody fell to 832 on June 30 from 5,767 at its peak on March 29.

The number of migrant families encountered at the border increased by 25% from the previous month to 55,805 even as summer temperatures rise in the deserts and mountain terrain of the southwestern borderlands. The figure is below the high of 88,587 in May 2019.

Of the June encounters, 34% were people who had at least one prior encounter in the last 12 months, up from about 14% for 2014 to 2019 fiscal years, according to CBP.

Pandemic-related powers that the government uses to rapidly expel most migrants from the country without allowing them to seek asylum has led to a larger-than-average number of migrants trying to cross multiple times, which means the numbers "somewhat overstate" how many are arriving at the border, Customs and Border Protection said in the monthly report.

Being expelled carries no legal consequences, so many people try to cross multiple times.

Drug seizures were down 30% overall in June from the previous month, however, interceptions of some drugs, including cocaine and fentanyl increased 30% and 12%, respectively.

Abbott has highlighted the flow of drugs, specifically fentanyl, across the border into the U.S. as a reason to bolster law enforcement efforts.

CBP said it has seen a surge in fentanyl seizures, which are 78% higher for the 2021 fiscal year through June over the 2020 fiscal year.

Abbott and DeSantis will be joined by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, Adjutant General of Texas Tracy Norris, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd and Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez.

NBC 5 News and The Associated Press
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