EAGLE PASS, Texas — Governor Greg Abbott gave remarks from the Texas/Mexico border Monday along with the governors of several other states.
The Texas governor was joined in Eagle Pass by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. Gov. Abbott addressed his ongoing Operation Lone Star policy in the wake of what he calls "President Joe Biden's reckless open border policies."
He says in addition to the four states whose governors joined him for the press conference, governors from several other states have pledged resources to aid on border security.
Abbott says 15 states including Texas have deployed military personnel to assist with border operations.
"Half of the states in the United States are stepping up to security a border that President Biden has abandoned," Gov. Abbott said. "The primary reason is that Joe Biden is not doing his job."
The governor said 853 people died in tragedies related to migrants crossing the border, including an infant who drowned last month before river border barriers were installed.
"The border between the U.S. and Mexico is turning into a deadly welcome mat for the migrants who are coming here," Gov. Abbott said.
The other governors at the press conference spoke about how U.S./Mexico border security affects their own states in regard to human trafficking routes and drug cartel activity.
"I like to use one word, 'disbelief'. Its disbelief of the misrepresentation of the buoys," Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen.
“In South Dakota yes, we’ve seen incredible increases in drug proliferation in our state, we’ve seen incredible human trafficking consequences," said South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.
This comes as the controversial border buoys along the Rio Grande have made national news. The buoys at the Texas/Mexico border are part of the Operation Lone Star policy to prevent illegal immigration.
The barrier was installed in July and stretches roughly the length of three soccer fields. It is designed to make it more difficult for migrants to climb over or swim under the barrier.
Abbott said Texas has the sovereign authority under the Texas and U.S. constitutions to do what's necessary to secure the southern border. Abbott also cited a U.S.-Mexico treaty in relation to the buoys.
“That treaty specifically references buoys as a device that can be allowed in these waters in between the United States and Mexico," Abbott said.
In recent weeks, a body was found among the buoys by Mexican authorities. Mexico attributed the death to the danger posed by the buoys, however Texas DPS said the person drowned upriver and the body floated to the buoy area.
Two weeks ago, Congressman Joaquin Castro toured Eagle Pass with a group of legislators. On that visit, he condemned the buoys.
“The question becomes, how do you treat them? Do you treat [migrants] as human beings or do you treat them as animals? Because right now, Greg Abbott is treating them like animals," Congressman Castro said.
Eagle Pass resident Jose Corpos disagrees with the way Texas is tackling immigration, saying it's negatively impacting the way of life for many in the small border community. But he's hoping all levels of government can work together to come up with a solution that focuses on humanizing migrants.
“Start thinking about good immigration reform. A lot of these people who come try to cross and are crossing. They come for one reason. TO have a better life," Corpos said.
Monday, the governor was also joined by Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, Adjutant General of Texas Major General Thomas Suelzer, and Texas Border Czar Mike Banks.