Abbott Signs Border Bills Classifying Drug Cartels As Terrorists

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed six sweeping bills into law on Thursday designed to expand border protection from the White House-approved flood of illegal migrants flooding into his state.

The package included designating Mexican drug cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. It further formed an interstate compact to fight illegal migration and provided more funding for law enforcement to combat the surge.

Abbott chided Washington for not upholding its constitutional duty to secure the southern border. “As a result, Texas has had to take unprecedented steps in responding to the crisis created by the Biden administration.”

The state’s border control effort, Operation Lone Star, was allocated $5.1 billion for its mission. Last year $4.5 billion in funding was approved.

The governor touted the use of miles of concertina wire as a border barrier. The new defensive measure is supported by the Texas Military Department and DPS officers, and Abbott credited them with directly blocking “people from entering Texas illegally.”

He further announced the implementation of a “new, water-based barrier of buoys” that are coming to the Texas border.

Installation will begin immediately, and Abbott declared that these innovations will prevent people from even getting to the Texas border. Officials said the first 1,000 feet of buoys will be established at Eagle Pass in Maverick County.

One key piece of legislation Abbott endorsed did not pass. He used his State of the State address to call for a “mandatory minimum jail sentence of at least 10 years for anyone caught smuggling illegal immigrants in Texas.”

It succumbed to differences between the House and Senate versions that were not resolved during the regular legislative session. The proposal is expected to be addressed in a special session.

Designating cartels as terrorists carries harsher penalties for state convictions. The package funds additional training for local law enforcement to deal with cartel activities.

Full authorization is given to deploy drones at the Mexican border. Another bill permits Abbott to form an interstate compact with other states outside of the approval of Congress to share intelligence and resources for securing the border.

Texas landowners are now eligible for compensation for losses suffered due to illegal migration, including property damage. And Abbott reported that another bill allows Border Patrol agents to search, seize, and arrest for any felony violation under state law.