EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke discussed the issue of immigration along Texas’ southern border Friday at a Nexstar-hosted debate at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Abbott opened the debate by criticizing President Joe Biden.

“Just two years ago, we had one of the safest borders in decades,” Abbott said. “Under the Biden administration, we have more people coming across the border than ever in the history of our country.”

On March 6, 2021, Abbott announced the launch of Operation Lone Star to address an influx of migrants entering through the southern border.

When asked if more money should be allocated to fund Operation Lone Star, O’Rourke said, “No, it’s clearly failing.”

“The numbers are in,” O’Rourke said. “We’re seeing not fewer, but more engagements at our border.”

O’Rourke also called the operation “political theater.”

“He promised us it would deter people from coming to this country. We’ve only seen more people come,” the Democratic Party candidate said. “Now they get a bus ride to Chicago, or Washington D.C., or New York. We don’t need any more stunts, we need solutions.”

In September, two buses of migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border were dropped off near Kamala Harris’ home in residential Washington, according to reports from the Associated Press.

When asked if more money should be allocated to the operation, Abbott had different reasons for saying declining to spend more.

“Zero dollars should be going to Operation Lone Star, and that’s what it would be if we had a president who was enforcing the immigration laws of the United States of America,” Abbott said.

In July, funding for Operation Lone Star was increased after Abbott announced an additional $30 million towards the Texas border security initiative.

Earlier this month, the Texas Military Department reduced the number of troops deployed to the Texas border.