Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the state flag was planted on a Rio Grande island that had been a hotspot for cartel activity, including drug trafficking, human smuggling, and unlawful migration.
As reported by The Dallas Express, a special operations group from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) began a seize-and-deny maneuver on a 170-acre island on the Texas side of the Rio Grande.
Fronton Island had been used as a hub for cartel-related activity, with cameras documenting armed men from across the border using it to make incursions into Texas.
Gov. Abbott shared pictures of the operation on Monday, explaining, “Today the [DPS] Rangers Special Operations Group planted a Texas flag on Fronton Island.”
“They continue to disrupt and stop Mexican cartel operations there and along the border,” he added.
Abbott had commented at the beginning of the DPS efforts, “This is OUR land. We’ve taken control of it away from transnational criminal organizations that were using it to facilitate illegal immigration & drug smuggling.”
He ordered them to “Plant the Texas flag.”
The move came shortly after DPS spokesman Chris Olivarez shared a video of what appeared to be a Venezuelan flag planted on a small island near Eagle Pass, claiming that some “illegal immigrants … decided to claim a [Texas] island by placing a foreign flag — that was quickly taken care of by our DPS Tactical Marine Unit.”
The DPS operations on Fronton Island were approved by Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, who authorized access to the border island.
“It is my hope that with access to this island, the [Texas General Land Office] can aid our brave men and women on the frontlines of this ongoing border crisis in stemming the tide of this overflow of illegal immigration,” she wrote in a September letter to a Border Liason Officer Austin L. Skero.
In a subsequent press release, the GLO noted, “Fronton Island has served as a hot spot for drug and human trafficking and dangerous cartel activity in the past couple of months. This more than 170-acre island is the latest state-owned island the GLO has allowed DPS to police and patrol in order to stem the flow of illegal immigration and various unlawful, dangerous cartel activities.”
The situation at the southern border has continued to heat up. As Texas moves to deter unlawful migrants from entering the country, the federal government appears to be working at odds with these efforts by cutting barbed wire and suing the state, as reported by The Dallas Express.
In September alone, more than 200,000 apprehensions of unlawful migrants were documented by law enforcement, making that more than 2 million for the fiscal year. Nearly 6 million people have crossed the border unlawfully since Joe Biden took office in 2021.
Texas lawmakers have requested that border security be added to the upcoming special session that Gov. Abbott will call in order to address the issue more forcefully.
Nevertheless, White House officials have maintained that the federal government has a handle on the situation.
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre recently said, “The president has done more to secure the border and to deal with this issue of immigration than anybody else.”
“He really has!” she continued, per Fox News. “Look, the president has done what he can from here, from the federal government, from the White House to put forth and manage our border in a safe and humane way to respect the dignity of every human, as he says all the time, and making sure that our communities are safe.”