AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the State of Texas will appeal the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of Texas’ Federal Emergency Declaration request as a result of the escalating crisis at the Texas-Mexico border. Earlier today, the Biden Administration denied the state’s emergency declaration request related to the border crisis. Specifically, the Biden Administration denied Texas’s request for supplemental federal assistance to respond to the thousands of illegal crossings along the border.
The Governor sent a letter to President Biden on September 20 requesting this declaration, noting that the federal government’s failure to enforce immigration laws, and in particular, its failure to halt illegal crossings on federal property, which is the sole jurisdiction of the federal government, led to substantial burdens on local and state resources. The failure of the federal government to intervene led to a surge of more than 16,000 migrants at the Del Rio International Bridge for several days.
“President Biden has turned his back on Texans living along the border, and FEMA’s refusal to declare a federal emergency at the border puts their health, safety, and property at risk,” said Governor Abbott. “The State of Texas is appealing this detrimental decision by FEMA because the Biden Administration’s refusal to solve the crisis at our border has led to a strain on local, state, and federal resources. The surge of over 16,000 migrants at the Del Rio International Bridge is just one of the most recent examples of the federal government’s failure to take action. A member of the United States Customs and Border Protection said that order was only maintained thanks to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas National Guard, and local stakeholders, and the President of the National Border Patrol Council estimated that troopers outnumbered federal agents by three to one.
“This crisis has not ended and will only get worse if the Biden Administration continues to turn a blind eye to the reality at the border. Texas will continue to step up and address this crisis in full force, but supplemental federal assistance should be granted to further protect Texans and halt the influx of drugs, people, and contraband into our state. I respectfully urge FEMA to reconsider this decision and provide the crucial support the State of Texas needs to secure the border and keep our communities safe.”
Governor Abbott made border security funding a priority for the first and second special legislative sessions. The Governor launched Operation Lone Star in early March to help secure the border and combat the smuggling of people and drugs in Texas. There are currently thousands of state personnel, including DPS troopers, agents, and Rangers, and National Guard soldiers who are engaged in the mission and working with local law enforcement. The Governor expanded the mission shortly after its launch to include anti-human trafficking efforts. Governor Abbott’s plan to secure the border also includes the construction of a border wall, in addition to the use of strategic fencing and other barriers. A project manager for the initial stage of building the wall was announced September 16. Earlier this month, the Governor signed House Bill 9 which appropriated $1.8 billion to Texas border security efforts. Among other things, the funding will add more National Guard and additional resources to better secure the border.