Border Crisis

Trump to Deliver Remarks from Texas-Seized Border Park

EAGLE PASS, Texas — Former President Donald Trump will speak on Thursday afternoon at Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, Texas. The GOP presidential frontrunner will find a much more secure border than residents have dealt with in recent months. The former president will witness hundreds of Texas Army National Guard soldiers, and a cadre of law enforcement officers posted along the border in what was once the busiest migrant crossing point along the southwest border.

The former president’s visit to the small border park in Eagle Pass comes after his recent victory in the Michigan Republican Primary on Tuesday. The park, recently seized by the State of Texas, boasts significant reinforcement of no-climb fencing and layers of concertina wire added by soldiers as part of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star border security mission. Migrant crossings near the park plummeted from nearly 5,000 daily in December to a mere trickle on most days.

The slowdown in migrant crossings also follows a series of meetings between the Biden administration and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in late December. The precise context of the meetings, aside from a discussion on irregular immigration, is largely secret. The results in Mexico have been more obvious. A crackdown on migrants utilizing a system of freight trains to reach the United States border and the removal of migrants from the immediate U.S.-Mexico border reduced the level of migrant crossings in Texas more so than at any other time during Biden’s first term.

As the former President readies his remarks on the border crisis in Eagle Pass, President Biden is also slated to visit Brownsville, Texas, on Thursday. Both visits are likely to be void of the imagery of mass border crossing so often seen during the first three years of the Biden administration. The actions taken by the administration to slow border activity in Texas and eliminate the visual of thousands of migrants flooding across the border at will are likely spurred on by the significance of immigration issues in the minds of likely voters.

Former President Trump will likely discuss his plans to remedy issues caused by the unfettered immigration during the last three years and to make sure potential voters do not forget despite the reduction of a significant number of migrant crossings in the state that are likely to return should Mexico fail in its efforts to continue the slowdown.

During Fiscal Year 2020, Trump’s last full year in office, the number of migrants apprehended after illegally crossing the border between ports of entry fell to just over 400,000 (bottoming out in April’s 16,182 apprehensions). As the general election approached and Biden campaigned on reversing the successful Trump border policies, the numbers began to rise. In the first quarter of FY24, that number hit more than 785,000.

Governor Abbott will likely tout the accomplishments of Operation Lone Star, which kicked off in March 2021. The operation augmented law enforcement patrols by Texas Department of Public Safety Highway troopers and Texas Army National Guard soldiers along its U.S./Mexico boundary.  The operation also includes the participation of several other states contributing National Guard soldiers and state troopers to the effort.

The State’s effort has thus far resulted in nearly 500,000 migrant arrests by state authorities since launching. The initiative includes enhanced criminal trespass prosecutions for migrants found by authorities on private property. According to the state, participating law enforcement agencies have made nearly 40,000 criminal arrests for multiple criminal violations at the border.

According to Abbott’s office, the increased law enforcement and military presence between ports of entry along the border have resulted in the seizure of more than 454 million lethal doses of fentanyl during the ongoing mission.

Another component of Abbott’s border strategy involves busing migrants to sanctuary cities across the country to relieve pressure on small border communities like Eagle Pass. Thus far, Abbott has bused more than 103,000 migrants released by Customs and Border Protection in Texas border cities to Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.

During a November visit to Edinburg, Texas, Breitbart Texas reported, Abbott announced his endorsement of the former president in the 2024 presidential election.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.

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