Texas Gov. Greg Abbott demanded that the Biden administration allow the state to interview unaccompanied migrant children in federal facilities in Texas as part of an investigation into human trafficking at the border.
Abbott blasted the Biden administration on Tuesday for having a “reckless” open border policy.
“Today, I am directly asking the Biden administration to allow the Texas Department of Public Safety to access this facility across the street at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center, as well as the other federally run facilities in Texas, to be able to talk to these unaccompanied minors,” Abbott said at a Tuesday press conference. “We must get to the bottom of the human trafficking and put an end to it.”
Abbott said he is expanding Texas’ Operation Lone Star, an anti-human and drug trafficking initiative begun in March, to investigate such activity.
Debris is strewn across a road near the border city of Del Rio, Texas after a collision Monday, March 15, 2021. (Texas Department of Public Safety via AP)
“The number of migrants crossing the border is at the highest since March 2019 and is on pace to hit a 20-year high,” Abbott said. “On Monday alone, the Border Patrol took in about 280 child migrants in the Rio Grande Valley sector.”
Abbott criticized Biden’s policies.
“The Biden administration has made it clear that if you are an unaccompanied child, you will be able to come into the U.S.,” he said. “I urge President Biden: do not traumatize these children by enticing them to make this trek.”
Migrant children are arriving at the U.S. southern border at rates faster than they can be processed and transferred to sponsor homes, all while the Biden administration has repeatedly denied that there is a “crisis” at the border, a senior Customs and Border Protection official recently told Fox News.
“We are taking in more UACs [unaccompanied alien child] than we can process,” the CBP official said. “I don’t see how we keep this many kids when we can’t find sponsors.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation.
A White House official told Fox News last month that Biden’s approach is to “deal with immigration comprehensively, fairly and humanely. The policy of this administration is not to expel unaccompanied children who arrive at our borders. The Border Patrol will continue to transfer unaccompanied children to the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement so they may be properly cared for in appropriate shelters, consistent with their best interest.”
Fox News’ inquiries to the White House and HHS were not returned at the time of publication.
Fox News’ Peter Doocy and Sam Dorman contributed to this report.