Texas is getting tough on illegal migration, appointing its very own Border Czar, to deal with the “unprecedented” numbers of people flooding over the border.
Michael Banks, a retired US Border Patrol agent was named to the role Monday.
“For me, the #1 priority is to make the State of Texas the least desirable place for illegal immigration to cross,” Banks responded when asked his role.
US Customs and Border Patrol data showed some 2.4 million encounters with migrants attempting to cross into the border in the last fiscal year — the highest on record.
Governor Greg Abbott unveiled the new position as construction continues on the Lone Star State’s version of a border wall in the town of San Benito — adding Banks’ only focus will be responding to “President Biden’s open border policies.”
The appointment comes as the US Border Patrol announced as the focus remains on the beleagured town of El Paso, which has become the number one busiest border crossing in the country.
According to just released figures for the last three months, Border Patrol officers encountered 162,603 migrants — more than three times the amount of crossers it saw in the same period just one year ago when it had 49,000 encounters total.
Most of the people seeking to make entry in the hot spot were from Nicaragua, Venezuela, Mexico, Ecuador and Colombia. 64% of those people were single adults. Almost a third, 49,508, were families with kids and another 8,059 were unaccompanied minor children traveling alone.
Traditionally, migrants have been single adults — meaning now law enforcement agencies have been scrambling to carry items like car seats, baby formula and diapers to accommodate asylum-seeking families who arrive in West Texas and surrender themselves to officials, asking for asylum.
“The first quarter of FY2023 demonstrated the complexity of the southwest border, with the recent migrant influx, and the challenges that our agents and migrants face during these times” said El Paso Sector Acting Chief Patrol Agent Peter Jaquez.
Federal investigators in the El Paso sector also disrupted 52 stash houses with 628 smuggled migrants, and intercepted 22 narcotic loads.
Banks, who will report directly to Abbott, will be charged with dealing with surges, like the one El Paso saw in December when the city declared an emergency over the migrant crisis.
The state sent in 400 Texas National Guard troops as well as Texas state troopers to help overwhelmed Border Patrol agents.
He will also be tasked with helping to convince private land owners to give the state access to their property to build more miles of border barrier.
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