Texas appoints 'czar' to promote the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico
The announcement is in response to Governor Greg Abbott sees as a refusal by President Joe Biden to enforce immigration laws.
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In a press conference near the section of the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas where wall is being constructed, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, announced the appointment of Mike Banks, a retired border guard with more than 20 years of experience in immigration matters, as the state's first border wall czar.
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.
The announcement of the border czar took place in the city of San Benito along the border, where the Governor also visited the area to supervise the installation of a portion of the wall.
The governor made the announcement alongside Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) director Steve McCraw, and Texas Military Department (TMD) Major General Thomas Suelzer.
“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. As an award-winning Border Patrol Agent, with decades of federal law enforcement and border security experience, 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. I have no doubt that Mike's strong record of leadership and wealth of experience will provide Texans—and Americans—the level of border security expertise they deserve from a proper Border Czar,” added Abbott.
MAJOR NEWS: Announcing Texas’ first-ever Border Czar!— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) January 30, 2023
With 20+ years in Border Patrol & law enforcement, Mike Banks is the perfect choice to oversee our fight against the surge of illegal immigration, deadly drugs, & weapons at our border.
More: https://t.co/6At4BFuWfQ pic.twitter.com/tdCpg83RAq
As part of Operation Lone Star, launched in 2021 to send migrants crossing into Texas from Mexico to northern cities, the czar will work alongside the Texas Department of the Military and Public Safety.
"I am humbled to be selected by Governor Abbott for this opportunity. Protecting our nation’s border is something I have dedicated the last 23 years of my life to, and I am very passionate about it. I look forward to strengthening our relationships with law enforcement partners and the community, leveraging all that we can to further protect our great state of Texas and the United States,” said Banks.
A further challenge to Biden
Abbott, who is one of the chief promoters of strict border control measures promoted by former President Donald Trump, and one of the harshest critics of Biden, said procedures have been accelerated to acquire the rights to some of the land where further wall construction will occur.
“Banks will report directly to Governor Abbott and ensure border security strategies are fully executed in Texas in the absence of meaningful federal action,” reads a statement about the czar.
The border between Mexico and the United States is approximately 1,900 miles, and more than half of it is in Texas.