Texas will have toughest border security in the nation, Abbott promises conservatives

Story by Anna Giaritelli 

AUSTIN, Texas — Third-term Gov. Greg Abbott vowed before a large gathering of conservative policymakers to outperform all other states in securing the border.

“In Texas, we’ll continue to do more than any state has ever done in the history of the United States of America to secure our border,” Abbott said during his keynote address Wednesday afternoon before hundreds of attendees at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s annual summit downtown.

Of the four U.S. states that run along the Mexico border, Texas has been most affected by the increase in the number of immigrants encountered while trying to enter the country illegally.

In addition to human smuggling facilitated by Mexican criminal organizations, border states are also battling cartels pushing fentanyl into the U.S.

Fentanyl is a man-made opioid up to 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. It was created as a legitimate pharmaceutical drug used to treat severe pain in hospital settings.

Mexican drug cartels, the Sinaloa Cartel and the New Generation Jalisco Cartel, acquire the precursor ingredients from China and manufacture the final product, then move it across the U.S. southern border and disperse it around the country.

Last week, Abbott’s office announced that personnel deployed to help with border security initiative Operation Lone Star since mid-2021 had intercepted enough fentanyl potent enough to potentially kill 365 million people.

“The Texas Department of Public Safety has seized enough fentanyl that would be enough to kill every man and child in the United States of America,” Abbott said in his speech Wednesday.

The state’s seizures were of fentanyl that was not caught by federal police at the border. Texas DPS’s fentanyl busts were of drugs that had slipped past U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers who inspect vehicles at ports of entry and Border Patrol agents who patrol between those ports, where migrants illegally cross.

Critics of Biden’s border policies claim the more than 5 million people encountered illegally crossing the border in the past two years has allowed cartels to more easily move fentanyl into the U.S. because federal police are preoccupied.

Abbott touted two actions he took since last year’s TPPF conference as examples of how the state was launching its own attack on the cartels. Last September, Abbott designated Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations.

Last February, Abbott began to refer to deaths from fentanyl as “poisonings” rather than overdoses because many people who died from the drug were unaware at the time of consumption that it contained fentanyl.

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