Abbott Threatens to Declare an ‘Invasion’ as Migrant Numbers Climb


From a camouflage Humvee at the edge of the Rio Grande, a Texas National Guard soldier on the front lines of Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign to secure America’s southern border was watching a man with a crutch crossing the river from Mexico.

“Señor! Are you there?” the soldier called out as the man disappeared into a thicket of towering reeds. No one answered.

Downriver, four other soldiers stood by as a U.S. Border Patrol team detained dozens of newly arrived migrants in a pecan orchard. An agent with a crowd counter recorded 135 people, mostly men but also families from Cuba, Peru and Venezuela who were seeking asylum in the United States.

“This is it, every day,” said Hal Bowles, a Maverick County deputy constable who has been hired with new state funding to work on border security. “The governor is trying,” he said, but still, “everybody is coming in.”

For the past year, Mr. Abbott has transformed an unceasing flow of migrants over the border into a potent political message, seizing the role of defending the country from unauthorized migration as he runs for a third term in November. His aggressive posture has done little to stem the tide and also exposed him to fierce criticism that he is using his authority to meddle in a policy area that belongs to the federal government. Still, his efforts to tighten border security and harden Texas’s 1,254-mile frontier have helped Mr. Abbott, a Republican, hold off challenges from his right and made the lawyerly governor into a regular on Fox News.


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