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Gov. Greg Abbott hires Border Patrol agent as Texas border czar

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 1/30/2023 Anna Giaritelli
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AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) has hired a former Border Patrol agent to oversee the state's response to the crisis absent any contact or help from White House border czar Vice President Kamala Harris.

Abbott announced Monday afternoon that ex-agent Mike Banks, who retired from his post in January, has been tapped as the Lone Star State’s top border official, a post Abbott created and similar to the federal post that President Joe Biden developed early on in 2021.

"Combating illegal immigration in Texas is a full-time job. It's a job that requires a leader whose only focus is responding to President Biden's open border policies," said Abbott, who spoke at an outdoor press conference in San Benito. "Today, I'm announcing a border czar to fulfill that mission."

Banks will report directly to Abbott and help the governor’s office reduce and respond to illegal immigration along the Mexico border.


Banks retired roughly 10 days ago from 23 years of service for the federal law enforcement organization, Abbott said. At Border Patrol, he was assigned to posts in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas; Arizona; California, and the national headquarters in Washington.

"For me, the No. 1 priority is to make the state of Texas the least desirable place for illegal immigrants to cross. I don't think it's going to be that difficult," said Banks, who spoke against the backdrop of state-funded construction crews installing massive border fence panels in the ground. "I'm gonna apply the applicable laws that are out there that should be applied."

Banks will be based in Weslaco, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley and will travel frequently up and down the border, as well as across the state.

"He will work on things like the surge operation like we used in El Paso this month. He will collaborate with National Guard and [the Department of Public Safety], as well as other state agencies, along with local officials and landowners on other border security measures," Abbott said. "He will work with the Facilities Commission to accelerate the building of the border wall in Texas."

Biden had appointed Roberta Jacobson as the federal border czar in early 2021, but she stepped down from the post less than 100 days into the job.

Harris then took over the border portfolio and was tasked with working with Central American countries to address the root causes that people flee their homes in the first place.


Harris's involvement has resulted in a slew of massive private sector investments, but illegal immigrant encounters at the U.S. southern border have risen, primarily because people from countries beyond that region have increasingly been apprehended.


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Tags: Border Crisis, Texas, Greg Abbott, Border Patrol, Defense, National Security

Original Author: Anna Giaritelli

Original Location: Gov. Greg Abbott hires Border Patrol agent as Texas border czar


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