By order of the Republican Governor, Greg Abbott, Texas is relocating inmates from a prison in the south of the state to make room to incarcerate immigrants who cross the border illegally, the state Department of Criminal Justice announced Thursday. .
The department said it began transferring inmates from the Dolph Briscoe Unit, a medium-security jail located in the town of Dilley, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) southwest of San Antonio, to other prisons.
The prison can hold 1,384 people.
"Texas continues to deal with significant numbers of people crossing the border illegally," said its spokesman, Jeremy Desel, "in order to address the current crisis, the governor is dedicating state resources
to arrest and confine those who cross the border illegally
and have committed a state or federal crime. "
In the city of Dilley there is already an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Family Detention Center, with a capacity of 2,400 people, including children.
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This decision by Abbott is part of its anti-immigration operation called the Lone Star, which it announced in March in an effort to reinforce border security and combat human and drug trafficking, according to the governor.
The announcement of the transfer of prisoners comes just one day after the governor announced that he will use 250 million dollars of state funds and financing donated by citizens through the internet to build a wall with Mexico in Texas, despite the president Joe Biden ordered the suspension of works on the border immediately after arriving at the White House in January.
Abbott, who is seeking re-election in 2022 and could be one of the White House contenders in 2024, also said he will ask the federal government to return the expropriated land for the wall and hand it over to private residents who can allow the continuation of the works at the state level.
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The government may challenge the Republican's decision in court, as
the Supreme Court has made clear that the power to enforce immigration law is a federal jurisdiction.
Since Biden took office, the governor has cracked down on immigration, including sending more state police officers and members of the national guard to the border.
To do this, he has also asked other Republican states for help.
On Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that he would dispatch elements of public security forces to Texas and Arizona, where his Republican colleague, Governor Doug Ducey, has also asked for help "responding to the crisis at the border." .
They enable an asylum program for migrant minors.
In May alone, 14,000 children crossed into the United States alone.
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The Biden Administration announced this month that it has recovered more than $ 2 billion from the military budget diverted by the Donald Trump administration to build the wall, and revealed a plan to reuse that money.
This Thursday, the Secretary of National Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, said during a budget hearing in Congress that he is evaluating making improvements to the wall to reinforce security.
"When you look at the border as a whole, all decisions do not serve the same for each area," said Mayorkas, "the border is very dynamic, there are different needs and challenges in different parts."
He added that his department is "studying building on the border wall" and specified: "We are analyzing particular holes in the wall and determining what is the best course of action to secure our border."
Illegal crossings have grown steadily since April 2020, after then-President Donald Trump hid behind restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic to deny most migrants the possibility of requesting asylum.
The trend has accelerated further under the current Administration, which quickly repealed many of those tougher border policies.
In May alone, Customs and Border Protection recorded more than 180,000 apprehensions at the border, a record for the third month in a row.
Vice President Kamala Harris visited Guatemala and Mexico at the beginning of June, as head of the White House, to tackle the root causes of immigration and, above all, send a message to migrants for which she was criticized: "No come [to the United States] ".
With information from The Associated Press
With information from The Associated Press