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Biden FEMA rejects Texas appeal for emergency aid for border crisis

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AUSTIN, Texas — The Biden administration rejected Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s appeal that the federal government reimburse the state for millions of dollars spent responding to the border crisis.

In a letter sent Sunday, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell denied the Republican governor’s request that it reconsider its denial to approve the state’s request for an emergency declaration.

“After a thorough review of all the information contained in your initial request and appeal, we reaffirm our original findings that supplemental federal assistance under the Stafford Act is not warranted for this event. Therefore, I must inform you that your appeal for an emergency declaration is denied,” Criswell wrote, according to a copy of the letter shared with the Washington Examiner.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION UNDER BIDEN SOARS TO THIRD-HIGHEST IN 97 YEARS

Abbott first asked President Joe Biden for help in a letter sent to the White House on Sept. 20, in which he said border counties had been in crisis since May 31. He urged the government to honor his disaster status and foot the bill to cover the higher-than-normal state and local operations on the basis that “border security is a federal responsibility.”

Abbott has not specified how much the state has spent reinforcing the border, but "thousands" of National Guard members and state police have been sent to border regions since Texas launched Operation Lone Star in March.

The Biden administration denied his first claim, and Abbott appealed the decision on Oct. 7. Republican Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz both backed Abbott’s appeal and sent a joint letter to Biden.

“In the last eight months alone, over a million individuals crossed illegally into the United States, which is now on pace for over 2 million illegal crossings for 2021,” the two senators wrote. “The state and local communities in Texas bear direct and indirect costs of the increasing volume of illegal immigration along the southwest border, and federal assistance is necessary to further protect the lives, property, public health, and safety of the communities along the border.”

While border security falls under the federal government's responsibility, the Biden administration has significantly reined in the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This has resulted in fewer deportations and many people being released into the U.S. after illegally crossing the border, a situation that critics say encourages more illegal migration. Overwhelmed Border Patrol agents have been pulled from the border to process people in custody, leaving the border unguarded in many regions.

In June, Abbott called in police and National Guard from other states to help guard the border. Since then, more than 90% of state resources have been pulled back, leaving Texas to respond largely on its own.

In the meantime, Texas officials are bracing for what could be the largest surge of migrants ever to attempt to enter the country illegally from Mexico, weeks after thousands of Haitians did so in the border town of Del Rio. Texas government and law enforcement leaders have stepped up efforts to make up for the federal government's absence, and leaders are preparing for a possible rush of more than 60,000 Haitian migrants. Most of the Haitians have traveled from South America to the southern border rather than traveling to a port of entry.

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Earlier this year, the Texas Legislature passed a $1.8 billion emergency border security bill that allowed Abbott to implement his plan to curb illegal immigration from Mexico and install more than 700 miles of border barrier.

The $1.8 billion is in addition to the $1 billion that the Texas Legislature approved this spring for border security operations over the next two years. The previous two-year budget had been for $800 million, making the emergency bill equivalent to normal funding for a four-year period.

Abbott's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Tags: News, Texas, Border Crisis, Joe Biden, Biden Administration, Immigration, Greg Abbott

Original Author: Anna Giaritelli

Original Location: Biden FEMA rejects Texas appeal for emergency aid for border crisis

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