Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law a package of border security laws aimed at expanding efforts to control arrivals of immigrants and drug trafficking. The law also includes the announcement of a new “buoy barrier” to be installed in the Rio Grande. The package of six new laws extends the authority of Border Patrol agents, allowing them to search and arrest suspects for serious crimes established by Texas law at border checkpoints. The package also permits the use of drones by the Texas military for surveillance along the Texas-Mexico border. Mexican criminal groups and drug cartels have also been designated foreign terrorist organizations in the state, with increased penalties for crimes committed by these groups.
The package of laws also allows the governor of Texas to collaborate with other states to execute pacts for border security without approval from the United States Congress. Abbott believes that the laws will assist Texas in stopping illegal immigration and provide additional tools to protect citizens. Since President Joe Biden’s inauguration, Abbott has condemned his administration for creating an “unprecedented” crisis at the border.
The governor has also announced the installation of floating barriers to prevent illegal crossings at critical points along the Rio Grande, with the first 1,000 feet to be installed near Eagle Pass in Maverick County. The director of the Texas Department of Public Safety praised the mobile barriers as effective and deployable.
Despite his efforts, Abbott is still waiting for the Texas Senate to pass another package of immigration and border security laws. One of his main proposals, which aimed to create a mandatory jail sentence of at least 10 years for anyone caught smuggling illegal immigrants into Texas, has already been rejected by the Texas House.