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Abbott asks state attorney general to investigate NGOs over immigration

The Hill logo The Hill 12/14/2022 Rafael Bernal
Greg Abbott © Provided by The Hill Greg Abbott

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Wednesday asked his top law enforcement official to investigate nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the state over their role in assisting immigrants to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

In a letter to Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), Abbott said the number of “illegal immigrants crossing the Texas-Mexico border has reached an all-time high.”

“Indeed, this past Sunday, over a 24-hour span, over 2,600 illegal immigrants crossed the border near El Paso and illegally entered Texas,” Abbott wrote.

In his letter to Paxton, Abbott largely blamed federal border management — and the activities of NGOs — for conditions along the border.

“Although the burden to address the ongoing border crisis should not fall to Texas, the federal government has failed to take action to address this problem,” Abbott wrote.

Abbott touted Paxton’s efforts in the courts to counter the Biden administration’s immigration policies, as well as his own “Operation Lone Star,” a Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas National Guard deployment at the border.

Abbott also took aim at NGOs, which have historically filled in for a lack of social services provided to migrants on either side of the border.

“There have been recent reports that [NGOs] may have assisted with illegal border crossings near El Paso. We further understand NGOs may be engaged in unlawfully orchestrating other border crossings through activities on both sides of the border, including in sectors other than El Paso,” wrote Abbott.

Over the past week, land encounters of migrants near El Paso have risen significantly, attracting national attention to that sector of the border.

Still, the mass crossings at El Paso pale in comparison to the 2021 Del Rio, Texas, border crisis, when about 15,000 Haitians crossed the Rio Grande over the span of a few days.

Like the Del Rio crossings, the rise in crossings near El Paso are in large part due to criminal activity on the Mexican side of the border.

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