Nearly 600 criminals have been arrested and more than 16,000 illegal aliens have been referred to border authorities during the first month of Texas' Operation Lone Star, which Governor Greg Abbott launched in defiance of the Biden administration.
The operation - which was announced in early March - involves units of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Texas National Guard. At the time, Abbott said that the situation on the Mexican border is the result of "Biden administration policies that refuse to secure the border."
On Thursday, Abbott reiterated his criticism of Biden.
Abbott added that "the Federal government is failing to respond to these dangers."
"Texas is stepping up to secure the border," he said, adding that having Border Patrol officers occupied with migrant detentions creates "wide swathes of sectors" for criminals to cross into the United States.
To date, Abbott said that the operation had netted 598 criminal arrests, with more than 16,000 illegal immigrants. Several of the arrested individuals, he said, had previously been wanted on charges of rape and sexual assault against children.
"Operation Lone Star is doing everything it can to keep our community safe," he added. "But this community is not going to be fixed until the Biden administration does its job to secure our order and get this crisis under control."
Young unaccompanied migrants, from ages 3 to 9, watch television inside a playpen at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley, in Donna, Texas,
In February, Abbott also accused the Biden administration of "importing" Covid-19 into the United States with its "catch and release" immigration policies.
"That is a Neanderthal-type approach to dealing with the Covid-19 situation," he said, one day after announcing that statewide mask mandates and capacity restrictions will end on March 10. The move was harshly criticized by Biden, who called it "Neanderthal thinking" and a "big mistake."
"The Biden administration has been releasing immigrants in South Texas that have been exposing Texans to Covid," Abbott told CNBC. "Some of those people have been put on buses, taking that Covid to other states in the United States."
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