“This is just the very beginning of what’s going to be a massive expansion of the number of people coming across the border. It will grow tenfold and a hundredfold, especially because of the way the Biden administration has handled this,” Abbott, a Republican, said during an appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
“Remember during the presidential campaign when all of the candidates said we want open borders? Well guess what? Biden has provided those open borders. He’s inviting everybody in and the floodgates are now open and Texas is at the forefront of it,” Abbott added.
President Joe Biden promised during the 2020 campaign to roll back key Trump-era orders and rules and has done so since taking office, including axing the remain in Mexico program that forced asylum seekers to wait for their claims to be heard outside the country, and lessening how many illegal immigrants are expelled under Title 42.
Biden administration officials, though, have insisted that the border is not open.
“The border is secure and the border is not open,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told members of Congress during a Wednesday hearing, adding that Title 42 powers are still being used to expel single adults and families, just not unaccompanied minors.
“We’re not going to send a 10-year-old back across the border. That was the policy of the last administration. That’s not our policy here,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at the White House as she defended the administration’s policy reversals.
Illegal border crossings hit 100,441 in February, Biden’s full month in office, with another 26,000 illegal immigrants evading capture, according to data reviewed by The Epoch Times.
Mayorkas has said the number will climb to the highest in 20 years if the current pace continues.
Texas officials have repeatedly criticized the administration for its approach to immigration, forcing it to suspend, at least temporarily, a shift to a weaker deportation regime, and unveiling new efforts to stamp out human trafficking.
“President Biden’s reckless open border policies have created a humanitarian crisis that is enriching the cartels, smugglers, and human traffickers who often prey on and abuse unaccompanied minors,” Abbott said at a press conference announcing the initiative.
Abbott told Fox later Wednesday that the administration is not being transparent with his office or the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“We need to know what the health situation of these kids are. We need to know if they’ve been exposed to variants of COVID, and if so, is it the Brazilian variant or whatever type of variants,” he said.
“Our law enforcement, the Texas Department of Public Safety, they need to do their job. Part of their job is making sure they track down and prosecute anybody involved in smuggling. Once the kids get over to the state of Texas, they are still involved with coyotes and smugglers and people like that that we do have the ability to arrest and put behind bars. The Biden administration is not letting us gain access to that information so that we can arrest and prosecute those who are assisting this immigration process.”
Charlotte Cuthbertson, Jack Phillips, and Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.