EAGLE PASS, Texas - The expansion of border enforcement is expected to target specific locations along the Rio Grande between official Ports of Entry. The promise of a ramp up by Gov. Greg Abbott came on Thursday afternoon at Shelby Park in Eagle Pass.
The site was seized by state officials last year after a series of migrant surges into Texas. The expansion plan comes after 14 governors, earlier this week, told Abbott they would send extra manpower to Texas.
"So, the next step is, working with the National Guard on plans as we speak right now, to expand the National Guard effort along the border region," Gov. Abbott said. "We're going to work on strategies to ensure the capabilities of the National Guard to add more soldiers, more resources, more capabilities, so they can be even more successful."
An enforcement ramp up is supported by State Rep. Ellen Troxclair.
"I think we have no choice," said the Lakeway Republican.
Any increase in enforcement is expected to be condemned by immigration advocates. Troxclair, who is a member of the Texas House Homeland Security Committee, believes the current border policy by the Biden Administration justifies a ramp up.
"We have the constitutional right as a state to secure our state," said Troxclair.
Nearly two dozen state lawmakers, including Rep. Troxclair, were invited to the governor's Thursday event in South Texas. She is not surprised a new enforcement plan will build on what’s been done at Shelby Park.
"The numbers are going down. It is working," Troxclair said. "So, I just think that we have to keep our foot on the gas, keep going, and keep putting up those roadblocks as much as possible for the cartels."
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Among the state lawmakers not invited to the park on Thursday was Eagle Pass Democrat Eddie Morales.
"I am the state representative that represents the most counties with a shared border with Mexico, over 770 miles of a shared border with Mexico. You would think that the governor and his office would have reached out to see, just with somebody who's lived all his life on the border and who has to deal with this issue on a daily basis, what would think and would reach out regardless of party affiliation," said Morales.
The governor's plan, like the problem it’s trying to solve, is perplexing for Rep. Morales.
"We're basically putting a Band-Aid on a problem that requires a lot more attention," Morales said. "Unfortunately, I find that it's going to be a necessary position that we are going to have to take and, if necessary, measures, because of Congress's lack of moving forward with the border bill.
More than $10 billion has been authorized for border security by state lawmakers. A big infusion of cash came out of the most recent legislative session.
"This is a highly misuse of funds when we could have border security, we could have had it yesterday," said Morales in a reference to the failed U.S. Senate border deal.
The recent reduction in illegal crossings into Texas, according to Rep. Morales, should be credited to officials in Mexico and not Gov. Abbott. Mexican officials reportedly made a deal after a recent visit by the U.S. Secretary of State to ramp up enforcement on their side of the border.
During the Thursday gathering, Gov. Abbott said that, before the state took over Shelby Park, it was not uncommon to see 2,000 to 4,000 crossings there. The daily average now at the park site, according to Abbott, is 10 migrant crossing attempts.