Texas governor seeks more border security help

Greg Abbott asked the federal government for more law enforcement help to manage another large influx of people crossing the Mexico border illegally.

(Photo: Reuters)
English 30/09/2015 20:18 Reuters Actualizada 20:18
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Texas Governor Greg Abbott asked the federal government on Wednesday for more law enforcement help to manage another large influx of people crossing the Mexico border illegally.

Abbott sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson reporting that nearly 10,000 immigrant families and unaccompanied children were caught crossing the Mexican border in August, an increase of more than 50 percent over August 2014.

"Given recent reports that our southern border has become more porous – not less, it is clear than ever that the federal government must act to reverse the tide of this mounting crisis," Abbott wrote.

Abbott asked for 250 additional border patrol agents, five additional surveillance aircraft and continued help from federal agencies to maintain two detention centers in Texas for undocumented immigrants.

Texas officials have made policing the border a top priority after tens of thousands of unaccompanied children, mainly from three Central American countries, streamed into the United States in 2014, many in hopes of escaping gang violence and poverty.

Roughly double the number of Central American children entered the United States illegally in August compared with a year ago, surprising the Obama administration, which had been touting a significant downward trend over the past year.

"General conditions related to the economy and violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have not improved and continue to serve as push factors leading to migration northward," Department of Homeland Security spokesman S.Y. Lee said in a statement on Wednesday.

Lee added that apprehensions across the entire Southwest border were at historic lows and federal investment in border security had never been higher.

Earlier this year, Abbott signed into law an US$800 million security package, which he called the largest border security measure ever enacted by a state.

Those funds paid for an additional 250 Texas Department of Public Safety troopers at the border, other surveillance devices and a judicial unit to prosecute human traffickers and other criminals.

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