EAGLE PASS, Texas — Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Texas National Guard would begin operations to turn back migrants attempting to cross the Rio Grande. The announcement followed discussions on the accomplishments of the Operation Lone Star border security mission.
“When we first began (Operation Lone Star) we were apprehending people and initially when we would apprehend people crossing the border illegally, we would turn them over … to the Border Patrol and/or ICE,” Governor Abbott explained. “Then when we realized the Biden administration was allowing these people to go free, we stopped turning them over to the Border Patrol and ICE and we started detaining them in jails that we created.”
Governor Abbott said state law enforcement officials began arresting the migrants for a “multitude of other crimes.” Those crimes included smuggling, trespassing, and other more serious crimes.
“Now we have come up with a more effective strategy for preventing them from even getting into the country to begin with,” the governor announced. “There’s a new category called ‘turnbacks.’ We’re working on strategies that will turn back people that are trying to make it across.”
“We have different strategies to achieve that,” he explained. “In some locations where there’s a water line where there’s a river and people are trying to cross that river, we put razor wire down there so that people are unable to get across.”
“We also are using boats in water — we will build a boat barricade — to prevent people from even being able to even get across the water.”
The governor said the state will present a “show of force” to deter people from crossing into Texas.
“They see on the other side, there are several hundred National Guard waiting there to apprehend them,” he stated. “Through these strategies and others, we’re working to repel people from even coming across the border to begin with.”
The governor said the first year of Operation Lone Star, the state-initiated border security mission involving the Texas Department of Public Safety and Military Department, led to the apprehension of thousands of migrants — many of whom would have gotten away with sneaking past Border Patrol agents.
“What Texas had to do when we engaged, we had to present the type of border security force the federal government typically does,” Governor Abbott said. “Part of that is through the Texas Military Department, … part of it’s through the Texas Department of Public Safety.”
“When you go through a military operation like this of a border that’s 1250 miles, you can’t do it all at once,” he continued. “You do it by segments.”
Abbott said that working with local law enforcement, “we have not been able to cut in half, the number apprehensions of people coming across the border illegally in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.”
He explained that the state then took that strategy to other sectors along the Texas border with Mexico.
“Everybody that comes across the border comes across with the aid of cartels — the cartels are making money off of this,” the governor stated. “When the cartels realize, that because of the sheer force that we have in the Rio Grande Valley and they’re unable to make the kind of money they were making in the past, they will move their operations elsewhere.”
Abbott said the National Border Patrol Council reports that because of the amount of force being carried out by Texas, a lot of the people who had been coming across into this state are now moving to other states like Arizona where officials report a dramatic increase in crossing.
“The bottom line is the cartels have realized it’s a money-losing proposition for them for them to try to cross the border in Texas,” Abbott concluded.
Editor’s Note: This is part three of an exclusive interview with Governor Greg Abbott. In the first segment, the governor discussed the acquisition of border wall panels by Texas that were abandoned by the Biden administration. In the second part, Abbott discusses the impact of the current border crisis on Texas ranchers near the border. In the third segment, the governor discusses his November opponent’s plans to eliminate border security in Texas. The entire interview can be seen here.