BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Governor Greg Abbott made his first appearance in the Rio Grande Valley and the border since Title 42 was lifted.

Abbott addressed the state’s efforts to respond to the migrant surge that happened in South Texas.

He said he is working on more laws to make it a felony for anybody to cross into Texas illegally or run a stash house. Abbott aims to make a 10 year sentence the minimum for anyone caught smuggling people into the state of Texas illegally.

“Somebody in this country has to step up and hold the line and not allow people to cross into our country illegally,” Abbott said. “This is the state of Texas and we have every right to secure our border.”

Rolando Avila/ValleyCentral

The governor responded for the first time to the eight migrants who were fatally struck by a driver in Brownsville. Abbott said he has been in communication with local officials to investigate the crash and aims to diminish the number of people on the street by more aggressively securing the border.

The governor was joined by Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, Texas Military Department Brigadier General Matthew Barker, and Texas Border Czar Mike Banks.

The news conference was held at the levee, now called Camp Monument, by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley where thousands of migrants crossed into Brownsville before the ending of Title 42.