Dear Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Patrick, and Speaker Bonnen:
TCC strongly supports and applauds your decision to deploy the National Guard to the border to bolster what has proven to be inadequate law enforcement provided by the federal government. We appreciate your leadership and commitment to ensuring that Texas is doing all that it can to ensure public safety in our entire state, including border counties.
The ongoing inability of Congress to provide for adequate security and public safety on the United States-Mexico border is deeply concerning. Illegal immigration into Texas has been a problem for many years, but the number of crossings has spiked in recent months. In addition, an increasing number of illegal immigrants are children, contributing to a humanitarian problem on the state’s border with Mexico. In light of these facts, we support your decision to deploy additional Texas National Guard troops to assist the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the southern border.
The elected representatives in Washington, D.C. have failed to adequately address illegal border crossings, which has resulted in a growing public safety and humanitarian crisis in parts of South Texas. As the Office of the Governor recently noted, in a recent three-week period, “more than 45,000 individuals from 52 different countries [were] apprehended illegally crossing the border into Texas.” Data from CBP indicates that from October 1, 2018 to May 31, 2019 (no data is yet available beyond May 2019), more than 593,000 people were apprehended illegally crossing the United States-Mexico border. Furthermore, the numbers have increased dramatically in recent months, from approximately 51,000 in October to roughly 67,000 in February to 133,000 in May. If the elevated levels of illegal border crossings in May remain unchanged, apprehensions will total almost 1.6 million from May 2019 through April 2020.
Many illegal immigrants are able to evade CBP and DHS when crossing into the United States. Once here, many stay in Texas and impose substantial costs on the state in terms of education, health care, and public safety. In addition to these increased costs imposed on Texans, the ongoing flow of illegal immigration is causing a humanitarian crisis; according to CBP, from October 1, 2018 to May 31, 2019, more than 56,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended attempting to cross into the United States illegally.
Tragically, some children have died during their journey. Just days ago (on June 23rd) CBP found the bodies of four people southeast of the Anzalduas Park in Mission, Texas. The bodies were those of a 20-year old woman, a toddler, and two infants. Although authorities have not yet released their identities, it is believed that they were migrants who had crossed into Texas from Mexico. The minors who survive the journey cannot be expected to care for themselves and can find themselves at the mercy of human traffickers. Controlling illegal immigration at the border will both better protect Texans and deter prospective illegal immigrants from undertaking a hazardous ordeal, which often puts their own lives at risk.
We thank you again for your leadership and decisive actions, and we stand ready to assist in any way that we can.