It’s no secret that Governor Greg Abbott and the Biden Administration have an embattled relationship. Since Joe Biden’s inauguration, Gov. Abbott has fought numerous times with the President over the Texas border. One of Biden’s first acts in office was to stop the erection of a border wall in South Texas. Soon after, the Biden Administration pulled back the Remain in Mexico policy. Some would argue that Biden virtually invited refugees to come across the Southern border of the United States.
An embattled border patrol, along with landowners along the Southern U.S. border, have petitioned Governor Abbott to do something about the never-ending people simply walking across the border, and he has gone toe-to-toe with members of the Biden Administration in order to do so.
On September 20, the Texas governor wrote to Biden and asked for the federal government to declare the situation at the border a federal disaster. Over the last few months, Texas’ border has been overrun with refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. The numbers of people coming across the border have reached into the thousands, with some estimates for overall 2021 refugee numbers totaling over 1 million.
Just nine days later, Abbott received a letter from FEMA denying the governor’s request. Unfazed by the denial, Abbott in turn wrote the president once again, stating, “Texas will stand with the federal government in responding to this border crisis, but should not have to stand alone or withstand the financial burden without federal assistance.”
Abbott went on to relate that the border crisis has squeezed many of Texas’ resources, including first responders and local officials. Abbott also pointed to the influx of Haitian immigrants in Del Rio.
Abbott implored the Biden Administration to consider the immigrants themselves. He stated that the city of Del Rio, Texas is merely 35,000 in population, and the city itself is not equipped to provide necessities the immigrants so direly require. He stated that the immigrants have needs for water and food. Many also need medical supplies.
Abbott went on to point out that many of these refugees are bathing in the Rio Grande, which could pose many health issues. The immigrants are chiefly unvaccinated as well. When the Haitian immigrants first flooded the border around Del Rio, they were restricted to stay in a makeshift encampment which Abbott described as “living in squalor.”
While Biden has still refused to declare the situation in Texas an emergency, more Haitian immigrants are coming. Panamanian officials have warned the United States that virtually the same amount of Haitians are coming through Central America with the destination of the United States as their final stop.
Shortly after Abbott wrote his second letter to Biden, an photograph that appeared to show a mounted Border Patrol agent whipping a Haitian immigrant circulated the news cycle. The whipping allegation was denied even by the photographer that took the picture. “Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses, and that’s kind of when the whole thing happened,” Paul Ratije told KTSM News. “I didn’t ever see them whip anybody, with the thing,” he said of the reins. “He was swinging it. But I didn’t see him actually take — whip someone with it. That’s something that can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture.” Despite this information, Biden suspended this part of the Border Patrol. Within a week, the original encampment Abbott spoke of in his letter was dismantled. Haitian immigrants were either turned around and send back out of America or bused to undisclosed areas inside the United States.
However, with more immigrants headed to Texas, the situation will only manifest itself once more.