Gov. Greg Abbott and members of the Texas House of Representatives gathered at Eagle Pass on Thursday to tout the state’s efforts to curb unlawful migrant crossings.
As covered by The Dallas Express, 22 members of the Texas House of Representatives were invited to attend the governor’s press conference at Shelby Park.
“In Texas, we’ve been able to achieve a decrease in illegal crossings only because of great teamwork,” Abbott said in a statement, stressing that the crisis has been caused by the purportedly lenient policies instituted by the Biden administration.
“The tools and strategies that [the Texas Department of Public Safety] and the Texas Military Department use to secure the border would not happen without members of the Texas Legislature, like those with me here today,” Abbott added. “Working together, we will expand current operations in other parts of the border to decrease illegal immigration and ensure that we add more soldiers in the border region.”
Abbott has deployed National Guard troops and officers from DPS along stretches of the border to aid in apprehending unlawful migrants who enter the state.
The action has been part of a broader policy of Operation Lone Star. For instance, the Biden administration has previously sought legal action on humanitarian grounds to stop Texas from deploying a floating barrier on the Rio Grande and concertina wire along the border to stem the flow of migrants entering the country unlawfully.
In some cases, the courts have backed Texas and Abbott by buttressing the legal premise that states have the right to act when the federal government does not.
The latest example came on February 8 with a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, which rejected an attempt by the Biden administration to quash a lawsuit filed in partnership with America First Legal (AFL).
The suit challenged the administration’s decision to appoint asylum officers to function as judges in asylum cases. Texas and AFL maintained that the procedure violates the Constitution because of the appointments clause.
The complaint raised questions that have not been addressed since the 1976 case Buckley v. Valeo.
At issue in the case is whether the president has the authority to appoint “inferior officers” without the consent of Congress. In Buckley, the Supreme Court determined that Congress is required to confirm “principal officers,” such as Supreme Court judges, depending on whether the role has “significant authority.”
In allowing the case to move forward, the district court will re-examine the role that Congress must play and how much power the executive branch has in nominating and appointing agents who act with the executive branch’s authority.
“It is tremendously important for Texas and for our Constitutional order that this case is allowed to move forward,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a statement. “The Biden administration must not be permitted to ignore Congress and violate the Constitution. We take every opportunity to hold Biden accountable for his unlawful overreach.”
AFL president Stephen Miller said the court’s decision was “an important victory in our fight to end Joe Biden’s radical plan to convert the border into a citizenship manufacturing facility.”
In Eagle Pass, before the press conference, members of the task force assigned by Abbott addressed the Texas House members. They highlighted the successes that Operation Lone Star has made beyond simply stopping unlawful migration.
For instance, DPS has made more than 39,000 criminal arrests for crimes ranging from human trafficking and drug smuggling to capturing known terrorists. The department also claimed it seized more than 458 million doses of fentanyl, which is a potent synthetic opioid that is lethal with a dose of just 2 milligrams.