On this week’s episode of The Luke Macias Show, journalist Nate Hochman sat down to discuss his latest article for National Review, in which he discusses both the invasion Texas is facing at its southern border and Gov. Greg Abbott’s failed attempts to address the intensifying crisis.

Hochman explained how Texas’ illegal immigration problem reached record numbers under the “catch and release” strategy put in place by the Biden administration.

“There is this enormous web of interlocking legal rulings, and memos, and policies, and court cases that basically make it so that once a migrant steps foot in the country, they’re automatically entitled to any number of rights that make it much more difficult to deport them,” said Hochman. “A lot of times what happens with the ‘catch and release’ system is that they are released into the interior for further processing, and a lot of them just don’t show up for their court dates because they don’t need to. And at that point, the battle is already lost.”

As the border crisis intensified under these “catch and release” policies, Abbott implemented a “catch and jail” system where he instructed state police to arrest illegal border crossers on criminal trespassing charges. However, many of the migrants arrested as a part of this program were simply held in jails along the border and then eventually released into Texas.

“So, basically what the program is doing is detaining illegal aliens in some of these border communities … at the taxpayer’s expense,” said Hochman. “Spending a lot of money … to detain these people in overcrowded jails, and then releasing a lot of them into the interior. So, all it really is doing is delaying the ‘catch and release’ process or drawing it out and spending more tax dollars, rather than solving the fundamental problem, which is that people are getting into the country in the first place.”

In addition to “catch and jail” policies, Abbott embarked on his Operation Lone Star (OLS) initiative in March 2021. Abbott often refers to both OLS and his “catch and jail” program as border security accomplishments while on the campaign trail; however, the two initiatives have yet to decrease illegal border crossings in Texas.

Hochman pointed out that Abbott’s border security policies also suffered from a lack of support from Texas’ county officials.

“Only two counties along the border at all are participating,” said Hochman. “You have large swaths of the Rio Grande that aren’t cooperating at all, which basically means that all of the rhetoric that Abbott is deploying about Operation Lone Star just doesn’t apply to a large segment of the border.”

Additionally, Hochman explained that although Abbott has recently begun implementing more conservative policy in the state, he has been slow to adequately secure Texas’ southern border.

“So, I think as conservatives, as Republicans, we should give Abbott credit where he deserves it, for actually becoming more conservative as governor of Texas,” said Hochman. “But immigration, I think, is one of the major gaping holes in his record. A lot of the stuff he talks about on the campaign trail doesn’t actually reflect the reality on the ground, particularly in border communities in Texas.”

The full interview with Hochman may be listened to here.

Katy Drollinger

Katy is eager to use her skills in writing and research to accurately report on issues for Texas Scorecard. She graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.

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