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Greg Abbott asks help from feds for Texas border security

Greg Abbott and family...accept nomination for governor in San Antonio.
Greg Abbott and family...accept nomination for governor in San Antonio.
Bonnie Lane

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott recently requested $30 million from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for immediate help on the Texas border, according to a release from the Texas Attorney General's Office. Abbott, who was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, is the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the Lone Star State.

Abbott, who is the Republican nominee for governor, made the request in the midst of a 92 per cent "spike in minors being apprehended at the border."

The U.S. Border Patrol has become so inundated with the flood of children across the Texas-Mexico border, that it has had to devote more resources than normal to the humanitarian aspect of protecting them. As a result, there is now a shortage of resources at the disposal of the Border Patrol to successfully fight criminal activity. Federal agents also lack the normal manpower required to secure the border which is marked by the Rio Grande River.

Abbott, who is leading Democratic nominee Wendy Davis in polls, said in pertinent part in his letter to Jeb Johnson, "Texas is currently dealing with an extraordinary influx of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing our long international border with Mexico. With the Border Patrol's focus shifted to this crisis, we have grave concerns that dangerous cartel activitiey, including narcotics smuggling and human trafficking, will go unchecked because Border Patrol resources are stretched too thin. Securing the U.S.-Mexico border is the federal government's responsibility. Because this simply is not happening, the State of Texas is seeking emergency funding to help support state-based border security initiatives."

Abbott, who would become the first native Wichitan elected governor were he to win the November general election, further said in his letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security as follows: "In the Texas Rio Grande Valley sector alone, the U.S. Border Patrol made more than 160,000 apprehensions between October 2013 and May 2014, an increase of 70 per cent over the same period the year before. Authorities arrested 47, 017 unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the border between October and May, up 92 percent from the same period a year earlier. More than two-thirds of these arrests.....33,470......were in the Rio Grande Vallley sector. A draft border patrol memorandum estimates that number could reach 90,000 in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30."

Abbott further mentioned in his letter that the "Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has a proven track record of interdicting, intercepting and disrupting the criminal operations of transnational gangs and international drug cartels......including illegal smuggling operations by those criminal organizations. The Texas DPS is prepared to swiftly launch a significant and proven border security operation once funding is available. The cost for the operation is approximately $1.3 million per week."

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