AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a new executive order directing law enforcement to return undocumented people to the border.
Under Executive Order No. GA-41, the Texas National Guard, and the Department of Public Safety are now authorized to apprehend undocumented immigrants between ports of entry and return them to the border.
As of July, Texas has spent over $3 billion in funding to enhance its border security.
Meanwhile, border officials still report historic levels of people crossing the U.S. without full legal documents.
U.S. authorities reportedly stopped undocumented migrants from crossing into the U.S. about 523,000 times between January and May.
However, this number is still up about 100,000 people from a year ago.
An increase also includes many Haitians, who are still dealing with the aftermath of their country's leader being assassinated and a devastating earthquake from last year.
Abbott said his new directive comes after the Biden Administration ended both Title 42 expulsions and the Remain-in-Mexico policy.
Under Abbott's Operation Lone Star initiative, about 10,000 National Guard members and Department of Public Safety troopers have been sent along Texas' 1,250-mile border with Mexico.
In April, Abbott authorized $495.3 million in additional funding to "support the deployment of the National Guard."
However, National Guard members have since reported delayed payments for soldiers, poor living conditions, and critical equipment shortages.
Some members have even reported attempted suicides.
"You know, I think that this is definitely a $3 billion campaign ad," Retired Command Sergeant Major Jason Featherston said about the upcoming November elections.
To his supporters, however, Abbott's tighter border initiatives come as a much-needed response to what they say is an "invasion" along the border.
“The Biden administration won’t do a thing about it,” said Kinney County Judge Tully Shahan, whose county sits on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We’re in over our head."
As a program, Operation Lone Star directs about $1.4 billion to the governor's office for the state-sponsored border wall and prosecutions of migrant trespassing on private property.
The U.S. Department of Justice is currently investigating the latter for alleged civil rights violations, rights that have been protected by law since 1964.
Last December, over 100 immigrant, civil rights, and racial justice groups publicly called on feds to slash Texas funding to the governor's initiative, the Texas Tribune reported.
Abbott’s office has responded by saying the arrests and prosecutions under his operation “are fully constitutional.”
According to an Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy report, DACA-recipient households in Texas pay about $750.4 million in federal taxes and $417.7 million in state and local taxes.