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Gov. Abbott and other leaders blame Congress for not addressing border 'crisis'

Posted at 5:24 PM, Jun 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-24 06:45:13-04

TEXAS — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that he will be deploying 1,000 additional National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border amid what's being called a "crisis."

The governor said at an afternoon press conference, among Republican leaders and Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris, that additional Guard members will be sent to new detention facilities in the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso and at ports of entry.

"We're not going to stand idly by and endanger the lives and safety of the state of Texas because Congress is refusing to do its job," Abbott said.

Abbott isn't the only leader blaming Congress.

On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged the poor living conditions for children at U.S. detention facilities. He's pushing Congress to provide support by getting to the root of the problem.

"We have a crisis on our southern border," Pence said. "We are on track this year to have more than a million people come across our border, and for the first time ever, the vast majority are families that are bringing children with them to exploit, what we understand, are loopholes in our asylum laws."

President Donald Trump said it's on House Democrats to change those laws.

"If the Democrats would change the asylum laws and the loopholes, which they refuse to do, because they think it's good politics, everything would be solved immediately," Trump said. "But they refuse to do it."

During Friday's press conference, Abbott talked about the influx of illegal immigration into the U.S. through Texas in 2019. He said the number of immigrants who have crossed into Texas illegally this year would add up to the population of one of the larger cities in the state.

He said sending more troops to the border will help with security.

"This surge, left unchecked, increases the risk of potentially dangerous individuals as well as gang members crossing the border, and increases the risk of drugs and illegal contraband being brought into Texas," Abbott said.

Texas has used National Guard members on the border since 2014, when then-Gov. Rick Perry also deployed 1,000 guardsman. Texas has also spent billions of dollars in border security over the last decade, including assigning more state troopers to the southern region.

Abbott said the federal government will pay for the deployment.