Houston, March 18 | Texas Governor Greg Abbott has criticised the US government’s “reckless” policy on migrant children arriving at the border between the state and Mexico, saying, that it was “enriching the cartels, smugglers, and human traffickers who often prey on and abuse unaccompanied minors”.
“The (US President Joe) Biden administration opened the floodgates to any child who wants to come across the border is going to be able to come across the border,” Abbott said on Wednesday across the street from the Dallas convention centre that is being converted into a temporary shelter for migrant children by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“And I know from what’s going on, on the ground, they were completely ill prepared for this,” Abbott added, calling the increase of unaccompanied children arriving at the Texas border a “humanitarian crisis”.
Abbott also expected the number of migrants arriving at the border to increase in the short term, Xinhua news agency reported.
“The number of children you see have come across the border already is going to be a tiny fraction of what we will see in the coming months,” the Governor said.
“Texas is willing to step up and help out, but this is the Biden’s administration responsibility.”
Also on Wednesday, Abbott announced the expansion of ‘Operation Lone Star’ to include efforts to crack down on human trafficking related to illegal border crossings.
As part of this expansion, the state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers and agents, as well as the Texas Rangers, will conduct interviews with unaccompanied minors who crossed the border to identify victims of human trafficking and gain actionable intelligence that will aid in the arrest of traffickers, according to a statement issued by his office.
‘Operation Lone Star’ was launched to help secure the border and combat the smuggling of people and drugs in Texas.
There are currently 1,000 DPS troopers, agents, and rangers who are engaged in the mission.
In a report, The Texas Tribune said that more than 100,000 people were either apprehended by or surrendered to federal immigration officials on the US-Mexico border in February.
Around one of every 10 undocumented migrants that immigration officials encountered in February was an unaccompanied minor, a 62 per cent increase from January.
According to The Washington Post, the Biden administration is holding more than 4,200 teenagers and younger children in detention cells along the border designed for adults.