RGV officials react to Abbott’s disaster declaration for southern border counties

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for southern border counties, including Starr, Cameron, Willacy, and Hidalgo in response to what some officials have called a “border crisis.”

U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar told KVEO that he would not call the migration influx a disaster and “respectfully” disagrees with the governor.

“I definitely disagree that this is a border disaster. I think this is a state version of Trump’s border emergency by calling it a ‘border disaster’,” said Cuellar.

Cuellar said that there is still a lot to do at the border, and he doesn’t agree with some of the ways the Biden administration is handling the border.

Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez issued a statement regarding the proclamation, in which he says that local law enforcement had not reported a level of criminal activity that would require a disaster proclamation.

I appreciate Governor Abbott’s concern for the safety of all Texans and I acknowledge that we are seeing a greater number of immigrants crossing into Texas to either seek asylum, to work or for other purposes. Apparently, Governor Abbott has information that we don’t have.  In speaking to local law enforcement, they have not reported levels of criminal activity that would require a disaster proclamation. I have repeatedly suggested to our federal government to address comprehensive immigration reform because our current laws need change to address what we want and what we don’t want.

Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez via a press release.

Cortez stated that his greater concern is the continued closure of ports of entry that have a negative economic impact on the Rio Grande Valley.

“Governor Abbott’s pressure against the Biden administration would be much more welcome in the form of calling for these ports of entry to be reopened so that the free flow of trade can begin to return to normal,” he stated.

The declaration will provide “more resources and strategies to combat the ongoing influx of unlawful immigrants,” according to a press release.

Abbott authorized the use of any necessary and available state and local resources to protect landowners from the damage migrants cause to private property in southern border counties.

This story will be updated as more officials react to the governor’s proclamation.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Community Stories