One of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive orders related to border security was temporarily stopped yesterday by a federal district judge. This and other actions by Abbott are being criticized as ineffective by those familiar with the border, as illegal immigration skyrockets and crossings at the border aren’t being stopped.

Last Wednesday, the Texas governor issued an executive order prohibiting private companies and nonprofits from transporting illegal aliens from the southern border into other parts of the state. The Texas Department of Public Safety was also ordered to stop such vehicles. In response, the Biden–Harris administration filed a lawsuit against Abbott’s order.

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone—appointed by former President George W. Bush—issued a temporary restraining order against the executive order until August 13, the same date as the scheduled court hearing.

Victor Avila, a former Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, criticized Abbott for not crafting his executive order appropriately in expectation of such action. “You got to [have] your T’s crossed and your I’s dotted before you make these kinds of executive orders.”

Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith (R), who has sought help in securing his county’s border with Mexico, took issue with Abbott’s order, calling it “ambiguous.”

“I went through and dissected it as a lawyer, piece by piece, and it still had all kinds of issues with it,” he told Texas Scorecard. “You could not take that and go implement it very easily.”

Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe, who has asked the state for help with border security, was asked about the implementation of Abbott’s order before it was halted. “I don’t know of any vehicles that were ever stopped,” he said. “There weren’t any in Kinney County. I know that.”

In a Facebook livestream Tuesday night, gubernatorial candidate Allen West (R) also criticized how Abbott reacted to the border. “I don’t know why you need to put out an executive order when you already have laws on the books.”

More Illegal Immigration

On July 27, Abbott ordered the Texas National Guard to help DPS arrest “lawbreakers at the border.” According to Avila, the situation at the border has recently become worse. “We’ve had thousands show up in the last few days,” he said. “Thousands and thousands.”

Avila investigated a report from U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R–TX) that found 12,000 had crossed. “I checked my sources, and they said, ‘Yeah, they came in in two groups.’ Five thousand and 6,000. Over 10,000 individuals,” Avila said. “As you can imagine, all of a sudden, they had nowhere to put them.” He shared a photo of illegal immigrants underneath a bridge in Mission, Texas.

They were put there, according to him, because Border Patrol facilities were at maximum capacity.

“What happened to arrest[ing] them for criminal trespass?” Avila asked. “It just goes to show that one thing is being said and nothing is being done by Abbott.”

Avila also found they didn’t have the magistrate judges or defense counsel necessary for 1,000 border crossers a day, let alone the 10,000+ over a couple of days. He thinks these illegal immigrants may just end up being released into the U.S.

Thus far, none of Abbott’s actions have attempted to stop illegal immigrants before they cross the border. Avila previously told Texas Scorecard the border wall Abbott said he would build was actually a chain-link fence, and it was being built inland rather than at the border itself.

While much of the land comprising the Texas-Mexico border is privately owned, Avila has found a number of owners who are willing to let officials build a wall on their land that would stop the flow of illegal immigration. Meanwhile, materials for former President Trump’s unfinished wall, abandoned by the Biden–Harris administration, are left collecting dust. Avila believes Texas could use these materials to build the state its own wall.

“This border crisis can be solved very quickly,” explained Avila. “But it’s complex in the decision-making of how you’re going to do that, and I think the governor has failed. He’s failed a long time ago in trying to do something about it.”

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.