The southern border continues to worsen as the Biden administration’s immigration policies allow for scores of illegal aliens to enter the United States. As the pressure builds on states and localities bearing the brunt of President Joe Biden’s immigration agenda, local leaders are stepping up to prioritize their constituents’ safety.
On March 6, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) set in motion Operation Lone Star to curb the smuggling of illegal aliens and drugs into the state. The enforcement initiative combines DPS and the Texas National Guard. Utilizing air, ground, marine, and tactical border security to monitor vulnerable areas and prevent Mexican cartels and other criminals from transporting illicit narcotics and smuggling migrants.
Governor Abbott explained the impetus for the operation, saying, “The crisis at our southern border continues to escalate because of Biden Administration policies that refuse to secure the border and invite illegal immigration.” He continued, “Texas supports legal immigration but will not be an accomplice to the open border policies that cause, rather than prevent, a humanitarian crisis in our state and endanger the lives of Texans. We will surge the resources and law enforcement personnel needed to confront this crisis.”
The Texas governor is not the only officeholder in the state to sound off about the Biden administration’s troubling immigration decisions. Border town mayors Bruno Lozano (D) of Del Rio and Jim Darling (I) of McAllen have expressed their concerns about the mass influx of migrants being released into their communities as well.
While the National Guard does not conduct direct immigration enforcement, their presence allows for additional surveillance to detect illegal border crossings or other unlawful activity, freeing up immigration agents to patrol and effectuate arrests. Additionally, the garrisoned troops provide needed security for exposed areas of the border that do not have adequate barriers. Moreover, the increase of DPS personnel patrolling south Texas will likely increase apprehensions of human smugglers and drug traffickers.
Operation Lone Star is a step in the right direction. However, more can be done to improve border security and immigration policy at the federal level.
One method would be enacting the Border Visibility and Security Act, introduced by Texas congressmen Chip Roy (R) and Henry Cuellar (D). The bill features several provisions, including border protection technology that meets a specific criterion to detect illegal activity along the southern border sufficiently. Another provision would require the Department of Homeland Security to construct 700 miles of navigable roads for Border Patrol agents to deter smugglers and illegal aliens more effectively.
The most effective aide would be for President Biden to reinstate the “Remain in Mexico Policy,” requiring migrants to wait in Mexico for their immigration court dates, alleviating border communities from mass migration. Moreover, resuming construction on the barrier along the Southwest border would help prevent unauthorized entries from occurring.
Governor Abbott’s leadership may help preserve his constituents’ security and well-being, with the benefits trickling down to other Americans outside his state. But the responsibility for border security should not fall solely on the people of Texas. President Biden must reverse course and follow the example set by state and local leaders if he hopes to gain proper control of the border.