TEXAS — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Monday extended a disaster declaration for 43 counties located in the southern part of the state and along the border with Mexico for what he characterizes as an ongoing crisis.
The declaration frees up additional law enforcement “to protect landowners in these counties from trespassers and the damage caused to private property,” a news release from the governor’s office states.
"Our ongoing response to the border crisis is made stronger by our partnership with local officials and law enforcement in South Texas and along the border, and I thank them for their dedication to keeping their communities safe," Abbott wrote. "We will continue to secure the border by quelling the influx of unlawful border crossings and cracking down on crimes associated with illegal immigration."
The extension came following a meeting between Abbott and several border sheriffs.
The extension additionally comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy be reinstated. The policy, formally known as Migrant Protection Protocols, stipulates that asylum-seekers must remain in Mexico while they await a court hearing to determine if they will be granted asylum in the U.S.
The policy has been dormant for more than a year and the administration argued that abruptly reinstating it “would prejudice the United States’ relations with vital regional partners, severely disrupt its operations at the southern border, and threaten to create a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis.”
The Trump administration largely stopped using the “Remain in Mexico” policy at the start of the pandemic, at which point it began turning back virtually everyone crossing the Southwest border under a different protocol — a public health order that remains in effect.
President Joe Biden suspended the program on his first day of office and the Homeland Security Department ended it in June.
Despite Abbott’s characterization of events at the border, the majority of migrants attempting to cross are being turned away.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.