Border Crisis

Abbott Updates Border Disaster Declaration With Shuffled List of Counties

On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an updated border disaster declaration that includes fewer counties but also includes some not on the original list. Abbott’s order says the “surge of individuals unlawfully crossing the Texas-Mexico border posed an ongoing and imminent threat of disaster.”

The following 28 counties were included in the most recent declaration and are currently in a state of disaster: Brewster, Brooks, Crockett, Culberson, DeWitt, Dimmit, Edwards, Frio, Goliad, Gonzales, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Jim Hogg, Kimble, Kinney, La Salle, Lavaca, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Midland, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, and Zapata.

Abbott added DeWitt, Frio, Kimble, Live Oak, and Midland Counties to the proclamation and removed Cameron, Duval, El Paso, Hidalgo, Kenedy, Reeves, Starr, Sutton, Webb, Willacy, and Zavala Counties.

“I am grateful for our local partners in our South Texas and border communities who are willing to work alongside the State to keep Texans safe and secure the border,” Abbott said in a press release Monday. “This amended declaration will ensure that resources and support are surged where they are needed most.”

The press statement indicated that the updated list of counties includes ones that have declared their own states of disaster locally and are cooperating with the state’s border security efforts.

The declaration also amends the original order on May 31 to include provisions designed to accommodate additional prisoners in Texas jails and “detention facilities.”

The document states: “The Proclamation of May 31, 2021, is further amended to direct the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) and the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) to work with Texas counties and with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), to provide appropriate guidance, and to request from the Office of the Governor any necessary suspensions of law, in order to ensure that the counties and TDCJ have the flexibility needed to establish adequate alternative detention facilities or otherwise add or expand capacity; to streamline procedures for licensing and transfers; and to address any staffing issues that may arise in expanding capacity.”

The most recent statistics provided by border patrol authorities showed there were record-breaking levels of illegal immigration in May.

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