Texas to Start Arresting All Migrants Coming Across Border, Greg Abbott Vows

Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott has vowed to begin ordering local authorities to arrest all migrants coming across the border.

"We're about to change the way Texas addresses the challenges on the border and we're going to start by helping these 34 counties respond by increasing arrests," Abbott told Fox News' Sean Hannity on Wednesday night.

"The law that I'm going to use will be legal ways in which Texas is going to start arresting everybody coming across the border," he added. "Not just arresting them, but because this is not going to be aggravated trespass, they're going to be spending a half a year in jail, if not a year in jail, as well as other action that I will be announcing next week."

Abbott's latest remarks come a day after the governor issued a disaster declaration "in response to the border crisis, providing more resources and strategies to combat the ongoing influx of unlawful immigrants."

In a news release announcing the declaration, Abbott authorized the use of "all necessary and available state and local resources" to protect Texans from the surge in illegal crossings at the border.

Greg Abbott Migrants Border Texas Arrest
Texas Governor Greg Abbott at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on March 29, 2020. Abbott vowed to begin arresting all migrants illegally crossing the U.S. southern border on Wednesday. Pool/Tom Fox

The governor has continued to blame President Joe Biden for what Abbott has declared a "crisis" in his state, saying that Biden's "open-border policies have paved the way for dangerous gangs and cartels, human traffickers, and deadly drugs like fentanyl to pour into our communities."

Shortly after the declaration was announced, former President Donald Trump endorsed Abbott, writing: "No governor has done more to secure the border and keep our communities safe than Gov. Abbott."

According to governor's office, Abbott has deployed 1,000 Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and hundreds of soldiers from the Texas National Guard to the border this year.

The governor has also instructed state officials to end contracts with the Biden administration for migrant shelters that hold unaccompanied children, who have been arriving in record numbers at the border.

A report obtained by The New York Times found that there were nearly 17,000 migrant youth in the care of Health and Human Services as of Wednesday. Among them, 8,000 are living in shelters licensed for federal use.

Abbot's order instructs operations at these care facilities to "wind down" by the end of August.

However, Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Sarah Lovenheim tweeted that the department "does not intend to close any facilities as a result of the order."

Newsweek reached out to the Department of Human and Health Services for further comment, but did not hear back before publication.