Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he’s expanding efforts to further strengthen the southern border after more than 50 people died this week being smuggled through San Antonio.
“It is the deadliest migrant smuggling incident on U.S. soil, and it is on President Biden’s watch,” Abbott said.
Abbott, a Republican, says the federal government is not doing enough, and he said he plans to add additional truck checkpoints, deploy Texas DPS strike teams and expand barricades and obstacles installed by the Texas National Guard.
The truck checkpoints are being increased with the hope of catching smugglers moving people and illegal drugs across the border.
The DPS strike teams, made up of 20 state troopers each, will be tasked with stopping illegal crossings.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) held a news conference Wednesday to discuss security at the southern border after more than 50 people died this week being smuggled through San Antonio.
Texas DPS Director Col. Steve McCraw said Wednesday that the DPS will start with two strike teams and add three more next week. Additional strike teams could be deployed as needed.
Lastly, the Texas National Guard will add more concertina wire and other barriers as obstacles on both state and private property.
Abbott said since they were deployed more than a year ago, the Texas National Guard has turned back 22,000 people trying to cross the border.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that the tragic loss of life in San Antonio is horrifying and heartbreaking, adding, “Exploiting vulnerable individuals for profit is shameful, as is political grandstanding around tragedy, and my Administration will continue to do everything possible to stop human smugglers and traffickers from taking advantage of people who are seeking to enter the United States between ports of entry.”
We asked U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Democrat who represents San Antonio, about Republicans saying these incidents happen because of the administration’s border policies.
“These kinds of incidents, unfortunately where people are smuggled and end up dying in the back of a truck are tragic and they have been happening for years, and it is a symptom of a longstanding broken immigration system,” said Castro.
Castro says Congress needs comprehensive immigration reform. Lawmakers have not been able to agree on what that is.
NBC 5’s Julie Fine contributed to this report.