AUSTIN, Texas - The governor was escorted via helicopter over the US-Mexico border in the Rio Grande Valley. He saw what he described as a humanitarian crisis.
"There were groups of some kids and adults of different ages. They were walking up a dirt road after getting off a raft that was pulled back to the Mexican side," said Abbott.
After his aerial tour, Abbott was briefed by border patrol, DPS, the National Border Council, and the Texas National Guard. Law enforcement officials have concerns about cartel activity within the immigration crisis.
"The cartel is trying to exploit border patrol. When they do, they move methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, heroin," said DPS Director Steve McCraw.
"Policy today is allowing cartels to enrich themselves. It is allowing cartels to prey upon the innocent," said Brandon Judd, president, National Border Patrol Council.
Abbott said it is President Joe Biden’s "open border" policies that give the greenlight to cartels and other criminal activity. "I do believe the Biden administration wants to downplay the severity of what's going on," said Abbott.
However, some Democrats in Texas, like strategist Abhi Rahman say the governor is only deflecting.
"The governor is trying to draw attention from his failures, first with managing the energy crisis. We have dozens of Texans dead because he couldn't keep the lights on, secondly his opening on Wednesday that's going to kill countless more Texans," said Rahman.
Abbott said it is time for the Biden administration to invest more money into ICE, especially as a pandemic rages on. "It is up to ice to detain, test and quarantine anybody who is coming across the border who may have had exposure to COVID," said Abbott.
"He does not care about Americans. He cares more about people who are not from this country," said Abbott.
"Texans won’t be fooled by Governor Abbott. They won’t be fooled by his distractions," said Rahman.
The National border Patrol Council feels no matter who is to blame, something needs to be done fast. "This is not a Republican versus Democrat issue. This is an issue that effects the American people," said Judd.