Former President Donald Trump said that if elected, he will send Texas “reinforcements,” coming just days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal agents are allowed to cut razor wire set up by Texas state officials along the U.S.–Mexico border.
“When I’m president, instead of trying to send Texas a restraining order, I will send them reinforcements,” President Trump told a crowd of supporters in Las Vegas on Jan 27. “Instead of fighting border states, I will use every resource tool and authority of the U.S. president to defend the United States of America from this horrible invasion that is taking place right now.”
In a speech focused overwhelmingly on border security, the former president said Texas should be given full support in its measures to deter migrants along the U.S.–Mexico border. The state has been reportedly restricting U.S. Border Patrol after the Supreme Court cleared the way for these federal agents to cut or remove the sharp metal barrier.
The historic number of illegal immigrants arriving at the U.S. border with Mexico during President Joe Biden’s term is one of the main challenges of his reelection campaign. Immigration was a top issue during Iowa’s Republican caucuses earlier this month, which President Trump won. An Associated Press survey found about 9 in 10 caucusgoers backed building a wall along the U.S.–Mexico border, with about 7 in 10 expressing strong support for the idea.
In the Supreme Court ruling, the justices ruled 5–4 to side with the Biden administration, allowing Border Patrol agents to remove the razor wire that was installed. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement last week saying that Texas has the “right to self-defense” and said the legal fight “is not over.”
The legal battle prompted some Democrats, including former Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), to call on the Biden administration to federalize the National Guard if Mr. Abbott persists
The former president last week said in a statement that states should send their National Guard members to the border “to prevent the entry of illegals, and to remove them back across the Border,” adding: “All Americans should support the commonsense measures by Texas authorities to protect the Safety, Security, and Sovereignty of Texas, and of the American people.”
Illegal Crossings Reach Record Highs
Several days ago, federal officials released figures showing that arrests for illegal border crossings from Mexico reached an all-time high in December since monthly numbers have been released.
Border Patrol tallied 249,785 arrests on the Mexican border in December, up 31 percent from 191,112 in November and up 13 percent from 222,018 in December 2022, the previous all-time high.
Arrests fell more than half during the first two weeks of January, “consistent with historical trends and enhanced enforcement,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement. CBP previously said a crackdown by Mexican authorities contributed to the January decline.
Mexicans accounted for 56,236 arrests in December, while Venezuelans were second with 46,937, erasing much of the decline that followed the start of deportation flights to Venezuela in October. Arrests of Guatemalans surged, with Hondurans and Colombians rounding out the top five nationalities.
Tucson, Arizona, was again the busiest corridor for illegal crossings among nine sectors on the Mexican border, with 80,185 arrests. Del Rio, Texas, the focus of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s enforcement efforts, was second with 71,095 arrests. San Diego, where nearly 6,000 Chinese were arrested, was a distant third.
When including individuals who were allowed to enter the United States under new or expanded legal pathways, migrant encounters totaled 302,034, topping 300,000 for the first time and shattering the previous high of 269,735 in September.
U.S. authorities admitted 45,770 people at land crossings with Mexico in December through an online appointment system called CBP One, bringing the total to more than 413,000 since it was introduced a year ago.
Border Bill Talks
The statements and court orders come as some Republicans and Democrats in the Senate reportedly are trying to work on a border bill, although House GOP leadership has said the measure will die in the lower chamber. President Joe Biden has shown a willingness to sign the measure, but some Republicans say it doesn’t go far enough, noting reports that it would allow 5,000 illegal immigrants into the United States each day.
President Trump, too, has said that he doesn’t want to see it passed.
“It’s not going to happen, and I’ll fight it all the way,” he told the crowd on Saturday in Nevada.