As a humanitarian disaster continues to unfold at the Texas-Mexico border, Republican candidates for governor are calling out Gov. Greg Abbott for his failure on the issue and outlining what they would do if elected.

“Our border is not secure. @GregAbbott_TX has promised to secure it for years but calls it a disaster,” tweeted candidate and former State Sen. Don Huffines on Wednesday. “When I am Governor, I will never ask the federal government for permission to secure the Texas Border.”

Huffines’ border plan, detailed on his website, includes deploying the Texas National Guard to the southern border, finishing President Donald Trump’s wall, putting economic pressure on Mexico, and mandating E-Verify (a database system that checks identities of newly hired workers against government records) for all Texas employers.

“Mexican narco-terrorist cartels are at the heart of the border crisis. Almost all illegals pay the cartels to cross the River. Tragically, nearly the entire 1200-mile Texas border is controlled by the Mexican cartels,” Huffines wrote. “The human trafficking, drug smuggling, gun running, and other actions by narco-terrorist cartels on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border are putting the lives and livelihoods of Texans at risk. Human trafficking is earning the cartels millions every single day and destroying innocent lives.”

“This attack on Texas is an invasion,” Huffines added. “Currently Gov. Abbott has only mobilized 500 members of our 20,000 National Guard troops. That is woefully insufficient to secure our border.”

“It’s not just the policies of the Biden administration; it’s the fact that we aren’t doing anything whatsoever,” said outgoing Republican Party of Texas chairman and gubernatorial candidate Allen West in a recent video of his own visit to the border.

West has written on his website that the lack of action to protect Texans has caused catastrophic consequences in the state.

“Such [open border] policies have resulted in Texas’ designation as the number one state in America for human and sex trafficking. Dallas and Houston are the top two cities in America for the same,” West said. “Illegal immigration is a multi-headed hydra that undermines our national security, endangers our local communities, threatens our educational and healthcare systems, and supports the cartels.”

West said if elected governor, he will, among other border security actions, mobilize the “full strength of our Texas National Guard and Texas State Guard” to stop cartel smuggling and trafficking into Texas, end taxpayer-funded perks for illegal immigrants, and “designate Mexican cartels as transnational criminal and terrorist organizations, enabling us to freeze their financial assets here in Texas, and arrest anyone working with these cartels.”

On candidate Chad Prather’s border security outline, which lists more than a dozen points and includes actions similar to those of his opponents, he says he would finish Trump’s border wall and “prioritize hot spot areas,” enforce already existing border security laws, “appoint a Texas Border Commander/Chief to oversee and coordinate protection efforts,” and “not allow sanctuary cities in Texas.”

Since President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January, illegal trafficking into the United States has exploded and triggered an unprecedented humanitarian crisis at the border. Just in the month of March, more than 170,000 people attempted to illegally cross the southwest boundary, a 15-year high.

In the last few months, pressure has built on Gov. Abbott to do more on the border situation, as some have perceived his behavior thus far as weakness. During the regular legislative session earlier this year, Abbott declined to name border security a priority for the Legislature.

In recent weeks, however, Abbott decided to make border security a focus of his agenda, announcing plans for Texas to build a border barrier in certain areas and putting the issue on the call for the state Legislature’s current special session.

Concerned citizens may contact the governor.

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.