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Texas Gov. Abbott undermines Trump’s presidential bid with urgent call to GOP senators

Since the start of Operation Lone Star more than three years ago, the state of Texas has spent a lot of money to secure the border by implementing various measures. According to recent official data, the number of illegal immigrants trying to get into the country in Texas went down, which means that these efforts, in the absence of proper federal government help, are delivering the desired results. Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot continues to send additional troops to critical spots at the border to further enhance security.

Absence of federal government help

Over the years, the debate about illegal immigration has intensified. The influx of illegal immigrants at the southern border since President Joe Biden took over the White House office has resulted in constant attacks against the federal government for what is perceived as a lack of adequate support. This has led to Republican-led states sending their own troops to Texas and helping the state secure the border with Mexico, which not only has an economic impact but also poses a safety and health risk.

The failed border bill

In early February, a bipartisan bill aimed at providing much-needed federal government support at the border was “killed” by Republican lawmakers who decided to vote against it. The proposed bill would have provided a record-high amount of money for border security, but most of the GOP senators decided not to support it because it included tens of billions of dollars for helping foreign countries, something that Republicans have been pretty vocal about in recent months.

Texas Gov. meeting with House Speaker Mike Johnson

Last week, Texas Gov. Abbott met House Speaker Mike Johnson in Texas. The border crisis was again the focus of their meeting. On Thursday, at the governor’s residence in Austin, Abbott spoke with Speaker Johnson, branding the crisis at the border as “both unacceptable and avoidable.” During their meeting, the governor stressed the importance of passing federal legislation to prevent illegal activity between official crossing points.

Abbott spoke with Speaker Johnson, branding the crisis at the border as "both unacceptable and avoidable" asking to support border bill legislation
Texas sending additional troops at the border – Credit: Greg Abbott, X (Twitter)

Going against Donald Trump

The governor reaction highlights a big difference between the ongoing political actions and the Republicans’ approach to border legislation. Democrats are blaming Trump for encouraging GOP senators to turn down the bill in February. They believe this was done so the Republican Party can use illegal immigration as a key topic for discussion until the November elections. In several states, Republican voters have placed immigration as a more important issue than even inflation or the cost of living.

Abbott spoke with Speaker Johnson, branding the crisis at the border as "both unacceptable and avoidable" asking to support border bill legislation

How Republicans killed the bill

In February, the immigration bill was stopped by Senate Republicans. This bill was worth $118 billion and $20 billion were allocated for securing the U.S.-Mexico border. It also included help for countries like Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. To move forward to the House, the bill needed 60 votes to overcome a Senate filibuster. However, before the Senate could vote, Johnson stated that the bill wouldn’t make it in the House, where Republicans have a razor-thin majority. Critics from the Republican side didn’t agree with mixing money for border security inside the U.S. with funds meant for foreign aid. Republican Senator James Lankford co-authored the bill.

Louisiana and Idaho implementing Texas-like legislation

As a part of the Operation Lone Star, Texas implemented various controversial measures and laws. Just recently, officials from two states, Louisiana and Idaho, said they are thinking of implementing similar legislation like Texas in their efforts to combat illegal immigration. On Friday, the Idaho House of Representatives voted to approve legislation targeted at illegal migrants sections identical to Texas Senate Bill 4. The legislation, House Bill 753, passed 53-15 with five Republicans and all the Democrats present voting against it.

Abbott spoke with Speaker Johnson, branding the crisis at the border as "both unacceptable and avoidable" asking to support border bill legislation
Credit: Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)

Several days earlier, Louisiana legislators announced they will soon consider a bill that would empower local and state law enforcement officials to arrest people on suspicion of being in the country illegally. Senate Bill 388 closely resembles a controversial Texas law facing a high-profile legal challenge from the Biden administration and civil rights groups, which argue that it unconstitutionally usurps the federal government’s authority to enforce immigration law and will create chaos at the state’s southern border.

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