Governor Abbott held a press conference on April 6 to discuss Texas’s border security efforts in light of the Biden Administration’s elimination of Title 42. Abbott discussed immediate actions with representatives from the Department of Public Safety, the Texas National Guard, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight of the discussions on the various topics taken up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the discussions but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer and the desire to get details out as quickly as possible with few errors or omissions.

Governor Greg Abbott

  • Concluded a meeting along the border with over two dozen local officials
  • These officials are upset by the catastrophes after the Biden Administration’s elimination of Title 42
  • These officials expect the Biden Administration to fix the open border problems caused by this decision
  • Department of Homeland Security has said the federal government is expecting 18,000 illegal immigrants crossing the border per day
    • This is an unprecedented, dangerous crisis
    • Potentially more people crossing the border by the end of this year than the total population of Los Angeles
  • Texas will take its own unprecedented actions this month to better secure our state and nation
    • Some actions will be announced today, more information next week
  • In March last year, OLS began to address immediate disasters; has apprehended over 200,000 immigrants and seized enough fentanyl to kill every citizen in Texas
  • Texas has begun building our own border wall, but with the ending of Title 42, more must be done
  • New strategies will be added to Operation Lone star:
  • Immediate implementation of zero tolerance policy for unsafe vehicles smuggling migrants across the border
    • Enhanced safety inspections of vehicles as they cross border
    • Traffic will be dramatically slowed from Mexico to Texas
    • Abbott signs directive to McCraw and DPS to implement zero tolerance policy and inspection
    • McCraw directed to conduct enhanced safety inspections of vehicles as they cross entry points; should immediately ensure Texans are not in danger from these vehicles
  • Second, Texas is providing charter buses to send illegal immigrants to Washington, DC where Biden administration can address the needs of the people they are letting across the border
    • Abbott signs letter to Chief of Texas Division of Emergency Management to allow this operation transportation to begin
  • Further actions will deploy boat blockades in Rio Grande River, create container blockades to deter low water crossings, and National Guard will begin first phase of mass migration rehearsals to prepare for potential mass influx across the border
  • Border region will be lit overnight in prominent smuggling areas to make detection easier
    • This is stage one of at least a two-part process
  • Texas will continue to monitor threats from Biden Administration’s decision and release further decisions next week

Steven McCraw, Department of Public Safety

  • Commercial vehicles and trucking industry are vital to our economy and way of life
  • Majority of owners comply with regulations, but cartels do not care about lives or violating commercial vehicle laws
  • Has seen an increase in smuggling through these vehicles
  • Border protection reports 4.8 million commercial vehicles entering Texas per year
  • Projecting these numbers will drastically increase; Record high already reached and will further increase
  • Opportunity to be proactive and deter unsafe commercial vehicles on Texas roadways; operations beginning at 4 PM today
  • Abbott – This will address problems with bailouts and reduce the number of bailouts occurring

General Thomas Suelzer, Texas National Guard

  • Texas Military Department in collaboration with DPS will conduct mass migration rehearsals to practice capabilities through May
  • Employing boats to form a blockade on the river to prevent crossing
  • Engineering capabilities will increase holding areas and wires to prevent crossing
  • Civil disturbance capabilities will be in full force to provide non-lethal means to prevent crossing
  • Along Southern border will increase military activity

Nim Kidd, Chief of Texas Division of Emergency Management

  • Communication already occurring with local officials and additional resources on their way
  • Operations with this plan will begin tomorrow

-Questions inaudible-

Question regarding potential lawsuits arising with increased vehicle inspections:

  • Abbott – DPS has been through all the legal issues before, inspections will be conducted to where constitutional violations will not occur
    • Lawsuits still expected, but law will be upheld
  • McCraw – DPS already conducts these safety checks, just increasing the intensity and expanding
    • DPS ensures that every commercial vehicle crossing to Texas is safe and that the driver is safe
    • Troopers on the ground will be able to direct vehicles; Every commercial vehicle crossing will be safe
    • Do not need probable cause to conduct these investigations

Question regarding costs associated with these new actions:

  • Abbott – Securing the border does not come cheap; Would cost Texas nothing if the federal government would do its job
    • Texas has to spend taxpayers’ money to secure the border because of Biden’s actions
    • Cities faced with overwhelming challenges, busing migrants to San Antonio themselves

Question regarding busing capacity:

  • Suelzer – in past disasters, used 900 buses; Will use as many buses as needed to follow Abbott’s order
  • Abbott – More announcements next week; Texas is evaluating every available tool to secure the border