Authorities in Texas have begun arresting illegal immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border on trespassing charges, according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has blamed the Biden administration for the surge in illegal immigration and has put in motion his own border security plan to crack down on illegal crossings.
“Texas has begun arresting illegal immigrants who are trespassing in Texas or vandalizing property & fences. They are now being sent to this jail rather than being released like the Biden Admin. has been doing. We are adding more officers, National Guard & jails,” Abbott said in a tweet Thursday.
So far, at least 10 people have been jailed, with more on the way, authorities said Thursday. The detainees are being held at what had been an empty state prison in Dilley, Texas, about 100 miles north of the border city of Laredo, according to Robert Hurst, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The converted facility will be able to hold more than 950 people, he said.
Val Verde County Attorney David Martinez said that all of those arrested so far have been single adult men. He said he had been advised last week that the number of arrests of illegal immigrants could rise to as many as 100 to 200 per day.
The arrests put in motion plans that Abbott first announced in June, when he hosted a Border Security Summit in Del Rio, during which he said individuals who enter Texas illegally would be subject to arrest for trespassing.
“President Biden’s open-border policies have led to a humanitarian crisis at our southern border as record levels of illegal immigrants, drugs, and contraband pour into Texas,” Abbott said in a June 10 statement. “While securing the border is the federal government’s responsibility, Texas will not sit idly by as this crisis grows. The state is working collaboratively with communities impacted by the crisis to arrest and detain individuals coming into Texas illegally.”
BY TOM OZIMEK