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Jeff Landry stands alongside GOP governors at Southern border during press conference Sunday

4 months 2 weeks 2 days ago Sunday, February 04 2024 Feb 4, 2024 February 04, 2024 4:16 PM February 04, 2024 in News
Source: Associated Press

EAGLE PASS, Texas - Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry joined more than a dozen GOP governors at the United States Southern border for a press conference led by Greg Abbott to criticize President Joe Biden's immigration policies. 

Abbott thanked the Republican governors for backing the efforts of the Lone Star state and reiterated his claims of an “invasion” along the Southern border. He again cited a constitutional clause he said gives him legal backing to defend Texas.

“We are here to send a loud and clear message that we are banding together to fight to ensure that we will be able to maintain our Constitutional guarantee that states will be able to defend against any type of imminent danger,” Abbott said.

                     

Landry did not speak at the press conference but sent the following statement after the event:

“What we saw and learned today makes one thing very clear: the Biden Administration has completely abdicated its responsibility to enforce the immigration laws on the books. Our open borders allow drugs and human trafficking to flow into our communities, putting our entire country at risk,” said Governor Jeff Landry. “When in trouble, our neighbors in Texas have always opened their arms to us. Now it’s time we return the favor. I look forward to working with our legislative leadership to find a way to send our National Guard troops to the southern border to support Texas. The rule of law must be enforced."

The record number of border crossings is a political liability for President Biden and an issue that Republicans are eager to put front and center to voters in an election year. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was not present on Sunday, but last week committed to send more National Guard troops to Texas and other governors are also weighing new deployments.

Eagle Pass is where Texas has been locked in a power struggle with the Biden administration for the past month after the state began denying access to U.S. Border Patrol agents at the riverfront Shelby Park.

Crossings in recent weeks are down overall along the entire U.S. border, including areas without such a heavy security presence.

Tucson, Arizona, which has been the busiest of nine Border Patrol sectors on the Mexican border, tallied 13,800 arrests in the weeklong period that ended Friday. That is down 29% from a peak of 19,400 in week ended Dec. 22, according to John Modlin, the sector chief.

Just a day after Biden expressed “his appreciation for Mexico’s operational support and for taking concrete steps to deter irregular migration” in a call with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Mexican immigration agency said Sunday that in the last week, they had rescued 71 immigrants – 22 of them minors— in two groups stranded on sand bars of the Rio Grande, between Eagle Pass and Piedras Negras. They were from Mexico, Central America, Ecuador and Peru.

A Honduran woman and her 1-year-old baby were also rescued from the water and the emergency team also found three corpses, apparently migrants who died trying to cross into the U.S.

The arrival of GOP governors to Eagle Pass rounds out a weekend that has kept the small border city of roughly 30,000 residents in an unwitting spotlight. Hundreds protesting Biden’s immigration policies held a “Take Back Our Border” rally on the outskirts of the city on Saturday where vendors sold Donald Trump-inspired MAGA hats and Trump flags.

The number of crossings in Eagle Pass has recently fallen to a few hundred a day. Mexico has bolstered immigration efforts that include adding more checkpoints and sending people from the northern border to southern Mexico. The country has also deported some Venezuelan migrants back home.

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