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() — Texas Governor Gregg Abbott is vowing to deploy at least five “strike teams” of Department of Public Safety (DPS) agents to strengthen border security following the discovery of 51 dead migrants inside a truck on the outskirts of San Antonio Monday, in what has been deemed a failed smuggling attempt.
According to the DPS, each team will be made up of 20 troopers who will be focused on how to “detect, deter, and apprehend” migrants trying to illegally cross the border.
“We’re going to deploy strike teams of DPS special agents to conduct surveillance and look for these cloned vehicles, stolen vehicles that are staged along the highways used to smuggle people … and also identify stash houses, which is very important to disrupting Mexican cartel operations,” Texas DPS Executive Director and Col. Steven McCraw said at a press conference on Wednesday.
ditionally, Abbott called Monday’s tragedy the deadliest migrant smuggling incident in United States history and called on President Joe Biden to “reinstate Trump immigration strategies.”
“The way the Biden ministration is not enforcing immigration laws is attracting people and enticing people to make this very dangerous trip, causing them to lose their lives,” Abbott said. “Biden is doing nothing,” he added.
Abbott also talked up Texas’ response to illegal border crossings, citing a strategy to increase the presence of officers at border areas as well as more checkpoints.
Biden, in a statement Tuesday, called the incident “horrifying and heartbreaking” and vowed to crack down on multibillion-dollar criminal smuggling enterprises that have helped fuel a record number of migrant crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border since he took office in January 2021.
He also condemned those attempting to make the event political, saying “exploiting vulnerable individuals for profit is shameful, as is political granstanding around tragedy.”
The deaths highlighted the challenge of controlling migrant crossings for Biden, a Democrat who came to office pledging to reverse some of the hard-line immigration policies of his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump.
The number of people found crossing the border illegally is at or near the highest in about two decades.
Republicans have criticized Biden’s border strategy ahead of the midterm congressional elections in November.
Reuters contributed to this report.