Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appoints state border czar, citing Biden’s absence

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is tapping the state’s first border czar to respond to the surge of migrants across the border.

Mr. Abbott, a Republican, said he selected an experienced U.S. Border Patrol agent, Mike Banks, to serve as his “special adviser on border matters to the governor” because President Biden has been absent on the matter.

“For nearly two years, the state of Texas has taken unprecedented, historic action under Operation Lone Star in response to the Biden administration’s refusal to secure the border,” Mr. Abbott said at a news conference on a border wall construction site in San Benito, Texas. “To continue doing what no other state in the history of our country has done to secure the border, I hired Mike Banks as the state of Texas’ first-ever border czar.”

Mr. Abbott said he appointed a czar to ensure that border security strategies are fully executed when there is a lack of federal action.

Mr. Banks will advise the governor on ways to manage migrant surges like the one that shocked the El Paso area in December.

Mr. Abbott’s decision to appoint a special czar comes on top of efforts to bus migrants to other parts of the country, saying liberal states that advertise themselves as sanctuaries should accommodate the new arrivals.

House Republicans on Capitol Hill, meanwhile, say they will use their new majority to ramp up border security measures and hold Biden officials accountable.

The White House says the lawmakers are full of bluster and should support plans to bolster border funding and overhaul the U.S. immigration system.

In Texas, Mr. Banks is a former agent in charge of the Border Patrol Weslaco Station who has three decades of experience in law enforcement, according to the governor.

“With decades of federal law enforcement and border security experience,” Mr. Abbott said. “Mike is the perfect choice to oversee Texas’ fight against the surge of illegal immigration, lethal drugs, and deadly weapons flowing into our state and nation.”

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