AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a new executive order directing law enforcement to return undocumented people to the border.
Under Executive Order No. GA-41, both the Texas National Guard and the Department of Public Safety are now authorized to apprehend undocumented immigrants between ports of entry and return them to the border.
As of July, the state of Texas has spent over $3 billion in funding to enhance its border security.
Meanwhile, border officials are still reporting historic levels of people crossing into the country without full legal documents.
U.S. authorities reportedly stopped undocumented migrants from crossing into the U.S. about 523,000 times between January and May.
However, this number is still up about 100,000 people from a year ago.
An increase that also includes many Haitians, many of whom are still dealing with the aftermath of their leader's assassination and a devastating earthquake from last year.
Under Abbott's Operation Lone Star initiative, about 10,000 National Guard members and Department of Public Safety troopers have been sent along Texas' 1,250-mile border with Mexico.
In April, Abbott authorized $495.3 million in additional funding to "support the deployment of the National Guard."
However, National Guard members have since reported delayed payments for soldiers, poor living conditions and critical equipment shortages.
Some members have even reported attempted suicides.
"You know, I think that this is definitely a $3 billion campaign ad," Retired Command Sergeant Major Jason Featherston said in reference to the upcoming elections this November.
To his supporters, however, Abbott's new border initiatives come as a much-needed response to what they say is an "invasion."
“The Biden administration won’t do a thing about it,” said Kinney County Judge Tully Shahan, whose county sits on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We’re in over our head."
As a program, Operation Lone Star directs about $1.4 billion to the governor's office for the state-sponsored border wall and prosecutions of migrant trespassing on private property.
The latter is currently being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for alleged civil rights violations, rights that have been protected by law since 1964.
Last December, over 100 immigrant, civil rights and racial justice groups called on feds to slash state funding to the governor's initiatives.
Abbott’s office has since responded by stating that all arrests and prosecutions performed under his initiatives are "fully constitutional.”
Reports estimate that DACA-recipient households in Texas pay about $750.4 million in federal taxes and $417.7 million in state and local taxes.