Oct 6, 2021
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Mission Press Conference Transcript: Immigration at Border
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other GOP governors held a press conference in Mission, TX on October 6 to discuss the border crisis. Read the transcript of the briefing here.
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Greg Abbott: (01:31)
Thank you everybody for a gathering with us today. We’re here today to talk about something that more than half of the governors of the United States of America have been working on that we want to announce to you today. Before we start talking about that, however, I do want to talk a little bit about something that happened as I was traveling to the Rio Grande Valley today, there was a shooting that took place in a high school located in Arlington, Texas. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to the mayor in Arlington, Texas, and to talk to Director Steve McCraw, the director of Texas Department of Public Safety, to make sure that the state of Texas is using the Texas Department of Public Safety, as well as any and all other tools to assist Arlington and the surrounding communities, all of which have law enforcement fully engaged in this process.
Greg Abbott: (09:35)
Let me just give you the latest update that I have right now knowing that facts are changing on the ground as we speak. According to Director McCraw, the school is safe and secure. The shooter has been identified and there is a search for the shooter. We know the shooter’s car. We feel confident that the shooter will be located very, very soon. The shooter, under Texas law, it is illegal for the shooter to either possess or to have purchased the gun that was used in this crime. What I understand just very briefly, is it a fight broke out inside the school and the shooter pulled out the gun that he had illegally and shot several people. We are still awaiting word about exactly how many people were shot. I don’t have any information about any loss of life, but it would be completely premature to make any comment whatsoever about the lives of anyone.
Greg Abbott: (10:38)
What we can say obviously is this and that is we grieve for everyone who’s been harmed or impacted by this in any way whatsoever. And we, as a state, working with the local communities will do everything possible to ensure that the shooter is swiftly and effectively prosecuted. Now onto what we’re here for today. Obviously we are at the border here in Texas, and we’re here to talk about border related issues. And let me just start out by making a very clear point and that is President Joe Biden has caused a humanitarian crisis and chaos on our border. All Americans saw exactly what happened in Del Rio, Texas just last month. And we know that that chaos will be repeated unless and until President Biden takes action. 26 of America’s governors have worked together to develop specific actions that Biden can take immediately to end the crisis on the border that he has caused.
Greg Abbott: (11:50)
We, all of us, asked the president for a meeting to visit with us about this, and he refused to meet with us and he completely ignored us. Nine of the 26 governors that crafted this action plan gather today at the border, a border by the way that President Biden has never even been to. We’re here to announce 10 actions that President Biden must take immediately. For me, I will mention three. One, the Biden administration must reinstate the remain in Mexico protocols which require asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while awaiting their court hearing. This is a proven deterrent to crossing illegally. Second, the Biden ministration must finish securing the border, which includes among other things finishing the border wall. Third, the Biden administration must enforce Title 42 health restrictions at the border. And then I’ll add this, while Joe Biden has done absolutely-
Greg Abbott: (13:03)
… this. While Joe Biden has done absolutely nothing to solve the crisis that he caused, Texas has taken 10 actions, not plans, but actions, to address the Biden border crisis.
Greg Abbott: (13:19)
One. I signed laws providing $3 billion of Texas taxpayer money for Texas to do the federal government’s job to secure the border. Second. I’ve deployed thousands of National Guard, and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and officers to secure the border. They are credited with forming a barrier that shut down the illegal migration surge in Del Rio.
Greg Abbott: (13:45)
Third. We created a system to arrest and jail illegal immigrants who are trespassing in Texas.
Greg Abbott: (13:53)
Fourth. I signed a budget approval and provided the authorization to build a border wall in Texas.
Greg Abbott: (14:02)
Fifth. I signed a law to make it easier to prosecute smugglers who are bringing illegal immigrants into Texas.
Greg Abbott: (14:10)
Sixth. I signed nine laws cracking down on human trafficking in Texas.
Greg Abbott: (14:17)
Seven. I signed a law that creates a new crime for the manufacturer or distribution of fentanyl. This targets the gangs and cartels that Biden is allowing into America who are trafficking this deadly drug.
Greg Abbott: (14:33)
Eight. I declared a disaster for border counties that are suffering from the surge of illegal border crossings.
Greg Abbott: (14:41)
Nine. I issued an executive order to prevent NGOs from transporting illegal immigrants in Texas.
Greg Abbott: (14:50)
And Ten. Texas took legal action to enforce the Remain in Mexico policy, as well as the Title 42 policy. In that regard, a federal judge in Texas ruled in our favor, commanding the Biden administration to continue to keep the Remain in Mexico policy in place. The Biden administration has refused not only to keep that policy in place, but the Biden administration has also ignored that order issued by a federal court that was appealed all the way up to the Supreme court and allowed to stay in place at this time. The Biden administration is in violation of a federal court order to impose the Remain in Mexico policy.
Greg Abbott: (15:37)
Last, I want to make clear that while Biden continues to dither, Texas and other states are taking action to do the federal government’s job. I thank the governors from across America who have sent resources to our state. They understand the magnitude of the problem, as well as the need for action. And I thank the governors who were able to adjust their schedules to be with us here today. There are several other speakers, including, first, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Steve McCraw.
Steve McCraw: (16:14)
Well, thank you, Governor. You’ve heard us say this before, you’ve heard the governor say it: there cannot be the most significant threat to Texas is clearly an unsecured international border with Mexico. It’s the most significant Public Safety and Homeland Security threat. It’s allowed Mexican cartels to evolve and become the most dangerous, most violent, most brutal criminal organizations in the world. They dominate the drug and human trafficking market throughout the United States. And if you have a fentanyl problem in Iowa, you have one in Oklahoma, you have one, you have a border problem. And that’s exactly what’s been going on.
Steve McCraw: (16:57)
The Governor has taken us, the state’s spent a lot of money over the years in terms of how we can provide direct support to the brave men and women of US Border Patrol to be able to support their mission. What the Governor’s done now, though, is taken us from a reactive position and put us in a proactive position and a better position. So, no more in terms of detection, interdiction, okay, and seizure and apprehension; the focus is prevention from the start and leaning forward in that regard. To that end, he’s formulated a plan that has all the border basics, including infrastructure, personnel, capabilities, technology, and doctrine that can secure the Texas-Mexico border. And unfortunately, the state of Texas has made it very clear, the Governor’s made it very clear, we can’t wait for Washington to do it. We don’t need their permission to protect Texas is the bottom line. And we’re blessed with the fact that the Governor lean forward on this particular issue.
Steve McCraw: (17:50)
And, Governor, thank you on behalf of the men and women of Public Safety, and the state of Texas for all you do for Public Safety, and for those people in the law enforcement profession. It means a lot that you care, and so does the state legislature. And I know these governors feel the same way. And so, we’re proud to stand with you today. And thank you for all you do. And thank you for sending troopers down here and resources. We appreciate that. We know that by putting them here, we’ve been able to protect your state. And I know you care deeply about protecting your citizens from harm. And God bless you. And Governor, that’s all my remarks.
Greg Abbott: (18:18)
Thank you. Next, we have Brandon Judd, the president of the Border Patrol Council.
Brandon Judd: (18:27)
Good afternoon. Thank you, Governor.
Greg Abbott: (18:28)
Thank you, Brandon.
Brandon Judd: (18:29)
Really appreciate it. Governors, thank you. Thank you. I can tell you that law enforcement greatly appreciates the work that these men and women are doing. Sure would have been nice if could’ve had just as many Democrat governors as well to discuss this issue. We have to have an honest conversation.
Brandon Judd: (18:45)
Criminal cartels listen to actions. They don’t care about words. And the actions of the Biden administration is very clear: if you cross the border illegally, you will be rewarded. And that’s what this administration is doing. So, as they give lip service to an issue, as they say, “The borders are closed,” their actions clearly demonstrate otherwise. If we continue to reward criminality, if we continue to reward people for crossing the borders illegally, people are going to continue to come.
Brandon Judd: (19:14)
It’s interesting we always say, “We shouldn’t recreate the will.” President Biden has the blueprint. President Trump did, in fact, create the will. He showed what needs to be done in order to control illegal immigration. If we can control illegal immigration, we can then go after the profits of the cartels. We can cut down on the drugs that are going to these states that are killing so many of our children, of our family members. If we can’t do that, the cartels will continue to control everything that is happening on the border.
Brandon Judd: (19:48)
President Biden has a responsibility to the citizens of this great nation to do what’s right by them, not by the cartels. Do not allow the cartels to make the profits that they are making, which by the way is over $400 million every month in illegal alien smuggling. That does not count the drug smuggling. Over $400 million a month. That’s an astronomical number. There’s a reason that they’re in that business, in the illegal business.
Brandon Judd: (20:19)
Again, I want to thank the governors. I feel for you. I feel for what you have to deal with in your states, with your families, with your family members, simply because we don’t have the policies, policies that does not cost the taxpayer a cent. If you ask me, “Do we need more resources?” We do. Do we need more infrastructure? Yes. Technology? Yes. But it must start with policy. Policy will allow us to get this under control, and then we can look at what needs to be done after that.
Brandon Judd: (20:53)
Governor Abbott’s leadership on this issue has been fantastic. Law enforcement is grateful to him for what he’s been doing to help us try to get this issue under control. But without President Biden, we’re going to continue to talk about this year in, year out. Thank you, Governor.
Greg Abbott: (21:09)
Thank you. Next is Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.
Doug Ducey: (21:16)
Thanks very much, Brandon. And I want to say thank you to Governor Abbott for welcoming us to see what’s unfolding here in Texas.
Doug Ducey: (21:24)
The situation here is certainly outrageous. And I want you to know, you’ve seen the coverage: men on horseback, literally herding men and women; thousands of migrants gathered in a Bidenville under Del Rio Bridge; children abandoned on the treacherous journey to our country. It’s a tragedy.
Doug Ducey: (21:44)
And I can tell you the border situation is just as out of control in the state of Arizona. The border sector in Yuma has had more than a 1,000% increase in apprehensions compared to last year, the highest increase among all sectors. The Tucson sector has seen more than a 200% increase in apprehensions.
Doug Ducey: (22:06)
And it’s not just the people that are crossing the border, it’s the lethal drugs. Almost 2,000 pounds of fentanyl and over 13,000 pounds of methamphetamine have been seized in Arizona sectors alone this year. Just think about how many drugs are slipping through the cracks and slipping into the bloodstreams in our communities. This isn’t a figure of speech; this is our reality. Fentanyl overdoses have replaced car accidents as the leading cause of death for people 19 and younger in Pima County, one of our border communities. Pima County deputy sheriffs are responding to a call involving fentanyl every 40 hours.
Doug Ducey: (22:53)
By neglecting the border, President Biden has fueled an opioid epidemic in America. The Biden border crisis has also led to a disturbing rise in crime in our streets. Because our border sheriffs have to spread their personnel thin between the border and the rest of their counties, there are far fewer officers patrolling our streets and keeping Arizonans safe. In Yuma, the amount of theft has increased by over 36% compared to the second half of last year. Homicides in Tucson are up almost 60% compared to this time last year. Our law enforcement officers in Arizona are some of the best in the nation, but they can only do so much when hundreds of thousands of migrants are flooding into the country illegally every month.
Doug Ducey: (23:48)
There are three people to blame for making America a more dangerous place: President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. It’s no secret anymore. They have created this crisis, and Americans know it. This year, President Biden took the oath of office to become our country’s 46th commander in chief. Instead of commanding our military, he’s commanded drug cartels and other criminals to wreak havoc on the United States. He and Vice President Harris and Secretary Mayorkas have allowed criminals and drugs to run rampant in our streets. And it’s time for them to do something about it.
Doug Ducey: (24:38)
I’ve joined 25 other governors, many who are standing behind me today, in sending a letter to President Biden requesting a meeting now. Either he’s unwilling to solve this crisis or he doesn’t know how. So, we’re here to offer solutions. It’s been 16 days since we sent the President the letter, and we still haven’t heard anything back. We’re not going to sit around while Joe Biden refuses to act. The White House Press Secretary last week told Republican governors to be a part of the solution. We’ve tried to meet with the President and be a part of the solution, but he refuses. Even worse, he ignores, just like he’s ignoring the border and the well-being of the American people. If the president won’t meet with us, then we’ll share our policy ideas today. Hopefully, he’ll hear the solutions and act.
Doug Ducey: (25:37)
The Biden administration should begin by dedicating federal resources needed to eradicate human trafficking and drug trafficking along the Southern border. We need additional resources to fight drug cartels, arrest offenders, support victims, and prevent lethal and dangerous drugs from reaching American cities and schools across our country. The Drug Enforcement Administration issued…
Gov. Doug Ducey: (26:03)
It’s our country. The drug enforcement administration issued a public safety warning for the first time in six years, as international and domestic traffickers flood the U.S. with fake prescriptions laced with lethal doses of fentanyl. Americans lives are at risk. We need this administration to provide adequate resources to stop the flow of these deadly drugs across the border. The border must be secured and criminals must be deported.
Gov. Doug Ducey: (26:32)
On top of that, the U.S. should re-enter all agreements with our Northern Triangle partners including Mexico. Upon taking office, President Biden issued an ill-advised and frankly foolish executive order that terminated agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. Those countries had already agreed to enforce their respective borders, fix their asylum systems, and receive migrants seeking asylum before they journey north to the United States upon Joe Biden’s open borders invitation.
Gov. Doug Ducey: (27:12)
And our final solution is about communication. President Biden, Vice President Harris and Biden administration officials at every level of government need to speak with a unified and clear voice to potential migrants. Our country’s borders are not open and abuse or misuse of the asylum system will not be tolerated. This isn’t hard, or at least it shouldn’t be, but we are talking about the Biden administration after all. We can turn things around. We can keep drugs out of our communities and our schools and we can make our streets safer. We can have an immigration policy that doesn’t include men on horseback hurting migrants.
Gov. Doug Ducey: (27:58)
President Biden, this is up to you. Are you willing to make the changes necessary to keep Americans and these migrants out of harm’s way? That’s the question you need to answer. Thank you.
Gov. Greg Abbott: (28:11)
Thank you, Governor. Next is Iowa Governor, Kim Reynolds.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (28:18)
Thank you, Governor. It’s a pleasure to be here. You know, over the past eight months, we have seen illegal immigration just soar. In fact, it’s becoming a migration and Joe Biden has done absolutely nothing to confront this self-inflicted crisis. As chief executives of our state, Republican governors have come together to discuss what we expect the federal government to take action on so that we can stop the crisis and humanitarian crisis that’s happening at this border. You know, the security we have seen, we need Joe Biden to step up and lead. We can do this by enacting common sense policies that will reduce never ending programs, but his policies have done just the exact opposite. What we’re seeing coming out of the Biden administration is incentivizing actual migration and illegal crossings is at a 20 year high, including the crossings of unaccompanied children.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (29:24)
What they’re doing after that is they’re secretly transporting them into our states across this country. Iowa is one of those states. In April, we had 15 unaccompanied minor girls that were flown into the Des Moines Airport in the middle of the night, and then they were boarded on charter buses. After we were made aware of this happening in the state of Iowa, we reached out to the Biden administration to ask them if they were responsible for this action taking place, and for over a month, they denied any involvement in this action. So we were concerned that it could be human trafficking, and so we used our own resources to continue to investigate the plane that had 19 young women being dropped off in the state of Iowa and moved to charter buses.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (30:14)
After weeks of denying that they had no involvement in it whatsoever, they finally admitted that it was their administration that was responsible for that plane landing in the state of Iowa. I can tell you, Tennessee has a similar story as well as Iowa. So if this is happening in Iowa and if it is happening in Tennessee, this is happening in states all across our country. At a minimum, this administration should not only provide transparency, but they should notify governors across this country when illegal migrants and unaccompanied children are being dropped off in our state because then we become responsible for them. So that is a policy solution that he could enact tomorrow.
Gov. Kim Reynolds: (30:58)
In addition to that, he should require the Office of Refugee Resettlement to enforce that policy action. In addition to that, they need to recent resume the deportation of all convicted criminals. When President Biden took office, the first thing he did was to issue an executive order that ordered ICE to do limited deportations. That is unacceptable. That should have never happened. All convicted illegal criminals need to be deported and that is another thing that he could do tomorrow.
Gov. Greg Abbott: (31:33)
Thank you, Governor. Next we have Nebraska Governor, Pete Ricketts.
Gov. Pete Ricketts: (31:38)
Thank you very much, Governor Abbott, for hosting us here today. I want to start by thanking the men and women of the Customs and Border Patrol. They are heroes helping to secure our nation’s border here and they need to be supported, so thank you to them. I also want to thank all the National Guard and law enforcement folks who are also doing the same so can we give them a round of applause too, please? Thanks.
Gov. Pete Ricketts: (32:07)
President Biden thinks that he can ignore this humanitarian and security crisis and it will go away. But we are here today to shine a light on what is going on here at the southern border and how it is impacting all of our states, not just the state of Texas. That’s why we put forward this ten-point plan that Governor Abbott kicked off for us and my other colleagues had highlighted. I’m going to round out a couple of more of the points that we’re asking for as part of this overall plan that we know will work to help us stem this mass migration into our country.
Gov. Pete Ricketts: (32:39)
One of the things the Biden administration must do is end the catch and release program. This was an Obama era program that was terminated under the Trump administration and restarted again under the Biden administration. What this does is just incentivize people to come across the border illegally because they are then released and that is creating a crisis not only here at the border, but health hazards across our country.
Gov. Pete Ricketts: (33:08)
So if you think about what’s going on here, as reports have shown, 18% of the families that are coming here illegally and being released are testing positive for coronavirus, the COVID-19. When it comes to the unaccompanied minors, that’s 20%. In fact, I think there’s a report out there that shows that the Biden administration may have placed up to 40,000 COVID positive people into our cities here in the United States. What the Biden administration needs to do is stop this policy and then resource the judicial system to be able to expedite these cases. There is a record over a million people that are waiting to get their cases heard. As we heard earlier today from Brandon Judd in our briefing, this can take two years before their court case comes back up again and that’s if they show back up. So the Biden administration must take steps to end this catch and release program.
Gov. Pete Ricketts: (34:08)
Then also the Biden administration must properly resource this border. That means they need to resource more for Customs and Border Patrol and the National Guard. Now look folks, this is not new. Four previous administrations have deployed National Guard troops to the border to be able to help out with this crisis down here. The Biden administration needs to call up more soldiers to be able to do that. They can do that under Title 10 so that the states don’t bear the costs. That’s what the proper role the federal government is.
Gov. Pete Ricketts: (34:41)
But because they have failed to properly resource this border, states like Nebraska have stepped up. Earlier this summer we provided the state of Texas with some of our state troopers to be able to come out and help out with some of the law enforcement. Let me tell you, folks, the stories are just heart wrenching. When I was talking to Captain Jason Scott who led our mission, he was talking about how most of the people they encountered coming across the border illegally surrendered to them because of the dire conditions they were in. They wanted the help.
Gov. Pete Ricketts: (35:15)
He talked about a two year old who had been in the desert for two weeks with no food. This is the humanitarian crisis that is going on right here in the state of Texas. The President must act. He can not continue to ignore this humanitarian and security crisis any longer. He has seen that we the states have a ten-point plan that will address this, and we know as Brandon Judd was talking about earlier, it will work because it’s worked before. We’re calling on the President to end this crisis. Thank you.
Gov. Greg Abbott: (35:50)
Thank you. Also want to let you know, also joining with us here today is the Governor from Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt, the Governor from Ohio, DeWine, the Governor from Georgia, Governor Kemp, the Idaho Governor, Brad Little, Montana Governor, Greg Gianforte, and the Wyoming Governor, Mark Gordon. And we have with us, the Texas Adjutant General Tracy Norris, as well as the National Guard General in charge of border security, and that is General Ulis. With that, we’ll take a few questions.
Speaker 1: (36:28)
Governor, do you feel that it’s right for critics to say this is just a photo op while you look to run for president?
Gov. Greg Abbott: (36:30)
The American people saw the crisis at the border when they saw the way that the Biden administration allowed Del Rio to be overrun. The governors insist that the Biden administration reinstate the effective plans that were put in place by President Trump. And the governors also are adamant that while President Biden may be silent about this and may not be taking any action whatsoever, we are going to act in his absence. Our constituents demand it, not just here in Texas, but I can speak for all of these other governors here when all of their states are suffering because of the massive inflow of fentanyl into the United States, which is leading to deaths in all of our states. This is one of, if not the most urgent matter that we’re facing in the United States at this time and it’s time for the Biden ministration to wake up and get on the job and do its job to protect the sovereignty and safety of the United States of America.
Speaker 2: (37:38)
Governor, can I also step in on that one?
Gov. Greg Abbott: (37:42)
Speaker 2: (37:42)
To say this is not a crisis, to ignore the data, through August, Customs and Border Patrol has had over 1.3 million contacts. Through August of last year, that number was 272,000, nearly five times as many contacts this year. That’s why this is not about illegal immigration. This is about a mass migration. If you look at April 2021, ICE completed 2,962 removals. That is the lowest number on record. So while we are seeing a surge at the southern border, the Biden administration is not resourcing our agencies properly to be able to take the appropriate law enforcement action. That is why the President must act.
Speaker 3: (38:26)
[crosstalk 00:38:26] Governor, critics say that the Operation Lone Star is unconstitutional. How do you respond to that?
Gov. Greg Abbott: (38:30)
We think that the person who is acting inconsistent with the constitution is the President of the United States. He’s completely abdicated his constitutional duties and that is why it is necessary for the states to take action. We believe the states are authorized by the United States Constitution to do exactly what Texas is doing under the ten-point plan that we are already acting on right now. Our job is to secure the health and safety and security of our constituents, and if Joe Biden is not going to do it, the governors of the United States of America will do it.
Governor Abbott: (39:03)
… Joe Biden’s not going to do it, the Governors of the United States of America will do it.
Speaker 4: (39:04)
Governor, Secretary Mayorkas stated earlier today that the federal government was now ready to handle a crisis [inaudible 00:39:10]. Are you concerned? Can you trust in what the federal government is saying to see a scenario like we saw in [inaudible 00:39:17] area?
Governor Abbott: (39:20)
I cannot count the number of misrepresentations that have been made by Secretary Mayorkas. He has continuously misled the American public, including even saying that the border is closed and secure, which could be nothing further from the truth. I believe Congress should investigate and call upon the resignation of Secretary Mayorkas for abandoning his job, not doing what the Secretary of Homeland Security is supposed to do, which among other things means supporting and deploying a Border Patrol, which are completely lacking and inadequate down here. And so Secretary Mayorkas is a disaster in what he’s done and no one should put any trust or confidence in anything that he says.
Speaker 5: (40:07)
Governor, some have suggested closing ports of entry for trade with Mexico [crosstalk 00:40:08].
Governor, Governor. May I?
Governor Abbott: (40:11)
One moment, we’ll come back to your next. Go ahead.
To answer your question.
Governor Abbott: (40:15)
Come up over here.
Speaker 6: (40:15)
Go to the podium, Jeff.
There are no new policies, programs, or operations that have been implemented since Del Rio. We are not prepared to handle anything. We’re not prepared to handle the numbers that are coming up. We’re not prepared to handle the 60,000 that Peru just reported is coming through their borders. No policies, programs, or operations. That’s the answer to your question.
Speaker 7: (40:39)
One other point on that. Every policy that we sent to the President, he can handle with the stroke of a pen. He does not need the help of Congress. Secretary Mayorkas has been non-responsive to we as border Governors, and we have 26 Governors on that letter asking for action right now. Secretary Mayorkas took 90 days to respond to the letter Arizona sent him in March. He should resign. Vice President Harris has been the worst possible choice to be the borders czar. She’s never shown any care about this issue or any level of seriousness. And Joe Biden has never even been to the border. But we are here today presenting solutions. We will work with them. This is a crisis and it requires action with urgency.
Speaker 8: (41:33)
[crosstalk 00:41:33] some of your primary challengers have suggested closing ports of entry with Mexico. Is that action that you would be willing as Governor?
Governor Abbott: (41:39)
We will take any and all action that needs to be taken. Understand this however, and that is, most if not all of the illegal immigration that is occurring is between the ports of entry. That is why we are having surge resources between the points of entry, because our focal point is to try to reduce people who are crossing here illegally.
Speaker 9: (42:08)
[inaudible 00:42:08] with Spectrum News One. On your order to arrest migrants that were crossing because of trespassing, I spoke to several of them and they got their documents, their release documents, just like anybody else. How effective do you think it is in the light of that? And also, MPP, have you considered that Mexico has not yet agreed?
Governor Abbott: (42:31)
So with regard to the Remain In Mexico Policy, there is a court order requiring the Biden administration to work with Mexico to re-implement that policy, something that the Biden administration is refusing to do. Second, with regard to the Texas policy to arrest and jail people who are illegal immigrants coming into Texas and trespassing on private property, that’s an effective way of sending a message that if you come into the state of Texas illegally, you have a high likelihood of not getting caught and released, but instead arrested and jailed.
Speaker 10: (43:06)
What’s the direct connection between fentanyl here at the border and far away states like Iowa or perhaps Ohio?
Governor Abbott: (43:11)
Earlier today, Director McCraw showed all of these Governors a map of the way of the way that fentanyl crisscrosses the entire United States of America. All of the Governors who are with us today, and those who are not with us today, they have fentanyl going into their states. To give you just one mathematical example, and that is just the amount of fentanyl apprehended just by the Texas Department of Public Safety just this year is more than enough to kill every man, woman, and child in the states of Texas, California, and New York. All of those states are subject to having fentanyl taken into the states. And we’ll have Governor DeWine from Ohio tell you more about what’s happening in his state.
Speaker 11: (43:54)
Governor DeWine: (43:55)
Sure. So, in Ohio, at least 80% of our overdose deaths every week are caused by fentanyl. It is being mixed into everything. I get calls, I get letters from family members who have lost someone. This crisis at the Southern border is a humanitarian crisis. It’s also a drug crisis. It’s a fentanyl crisis.
Speaker 12: (44:19)
And we’re seeing the same thing, as I’ve indicated at our press conferences. With Interstate 35 and Interstate 80 we’re a direct route for drugs to pipe through Des Moines, Council Bluffs, and then out through the United States. We’ve seen a tremendous increase, four times meth, as well as fentanyl has increased. Earlier this year, it was 1,000% increase from what we saw over the same time last year, and that’s killing our young people. And the other thing that we’re also experiencing is the purity of the fentanyl that’s coming in and the way that they’re lacing it. We’ve also seen a tremendous uptick in the use of Naloxone to combat fentanyl. And so we are seeing it like every other state across this country and it’s taxing not only Iowans but our law enforcement as well.
Speaker 13: (45:05)
Governor Abbott [crosstalk 00:45:06].
Speaker 14: (45:06)
Can I just jump on there with Nebraska as well? Same thing is happening in Nebraska. Talking to the Colonel of my State Patrol, methamphetamine in the Midwest is up four times what it was last year. And we have seen that our state patrol has confiscated more than about two and a half times the amount of fentanyl in our state this year versus last year. So we’re seeing the same thing as far as the impact on our communities with regard to drugs.
Speaker 13: (45:33)
[crosstalk 00:45:33] exactly where you went. Were they on the river? Did they visit with any migrant respite centers? Could you explain where you took them?
Governor Abbott: (45:42)
Sure. Before coming here, we had a briefing at the Texas Department of Public Safety Headquarters where Brendan Judd and our Director McCraw explained to them exactly what was taking place on the border, where it was taking place, and what the consequences were for all of the states. It will be after this that the Governors are going to be able to visit different locations, some by boat, some by air, some on ground.
Speaker 15: (46:09)
[crosstalk 00:46:09] for over 60 days and then haven’t formally accused of a crime. What’s your reaction on that?
Governor Abbott: (46:17)
If you’re talking about in the Arrest and Jail Program?
Speaker 15: (46:20)
Governor Abbott: (46:21)
Yeah. And so the prosecuting attorneys in those counties have the legal responsibility to effectively charge anybody who’s arrested for a crime. We urge them to charge them with the highest potential penalty that they can be charged with to make sure that they remain in jail for as long as possible.
Speaker 16: (46:40)
Two more questions.
Speaker 17: (46:42)
[crosstalk 00:46:42] at the border several times with former President Donald Trump, with Ted Cruz. Now, if the Biden administration doesn’t respond to this, how do you and other state officials plan to move forward?
Governor Abbott: (46:54)
Speaking for the state of Texas, we are going to continue to escalate what we are doing to respond to this crisis. We hear stories about the potential for oncoming caravans, and as we’re gathering here today, the National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety are getting ready to be able to respond to those caravans in ways that secure Texas.
Speaker 16: (47:15)
Speaker 18: (47:17)
Governor, are you concerned that the new law of Constitutional Carry is sending the wrong message to young people and that we could see more school shootings?
Governor Abbott: (47:26)
So, very importantly, with regard to the school shooting that took place today as well as with really any school shooting that I’m aware of, the gun that was possessed by the shooter was possessed illegally and we will make sure that laws are enforced and those who act illegally will be held accountable.
Speaker 18: (47:44)
Speaker 19: (47:45)
Speaker 18: (47:45)
Do you plan to issue a pardon for George Floyd?
Governor Abbott: (47:48)
So, obviously, the Texas Board of Pardon and Paroles just issued their decision. We go through our legal analysis next and we’ll let you know when we make a decision.
Speaker 19: (47:57)
Great. Thank you guys so much for coming.
Governor Abbott: (48:02)
Thank you all.
Governor DeWine: (48:06)
Good to see you. [inaudible 00:48:11]. [crosstalk 00:48:21].