CBP requested help from Abbott on the border, then Biden "flip-flopped" to a different strategy

AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Governor Abbott announced Thursday that he was asked by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to shut down the ports of entry with Mexico and secure the border. Go here to read Allahpundit’s post about the story. The request and Abbott’s willingness to carry out the request brought into question whether or not Abbott had such authority.

Abbott’s response to CBP’s request was to order a surge of personnel and vehicles from the Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to close the six ports of entry at the southern border. However, just six hours after Abbott received the request, Biden, he claims, flip-flopped and ordered a different strategy. Abbott’s order had been reversed.

“Six hours after U.S. Customs and Border Protection requested help from Texas to close ports of entry and secure the border, the Biden Administration has now flip-flopped to a different strategy that abandons border security and instead makes it easier for people to cross illegally and for cartels to exploit the border,” Abbott’s office said. “The Biden Administration is in complete disarray and is handling the border crisis as badly as the evacuation from Afghanistan.”

Abbott’s not wrong.

The new statement went on to say Abbott has directed Texas DPS and Texas National Guard to instead “maintain their presence at and around ports of entry to deter crossings.”

DHS released a statement saying it wasn’t asking Texas for help.

“The Department of Homeland Security is not seeking assistance from the State of Texas to shut down ports of entry. It would be a violation of federal law for the Texas National Guard to unilaterally do so,” a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson said.

Texas wouldn’t be acting “unilaterally” if a request came from Biden’s CBP, though, right? For once, the Biden administration and Abbott appeared to be working together to ease the horrific problem with thousands of illegal migrants waiting under the international bridge in Del Rio to be processed for asylum. It is so crowded along the border there is literally nowhere for them to go. So, they are being warehoused under a bridge. The question is, what happened in those six hours to cause the flip-flop? Did it have anything to do with an Operation Lone Star briefing?

Earlier Thursday, during the first weekly Operation Lone Star briefing with Texas Department of Public Safety, Lt. Chris Olivarez said, “Before I came here today, my last instructions are we’re going to shut down all the POEs in Del Rio. That is the plan as of now.”

“The migrants are coming to the POEs. So we’re going to link up with our partners, and we’re going to shut down those POEs, we’re going to make it difficult for anybody to come across,” Olivarez explained.

Maybe DHS is trying to save face after the public announcement that Abbott was acting on the ports of entry. The Biden administration likes to pretend everything is fine, there is no Biden border crisis. Most of the national media is happy to provide cover for Biden’s ineptness by not even bothering to cover the humanitarian crisis at the southern border. We all know how the coverage played out during the Trump administration, though, and if Biden didn’t have a D behind his name, AOC and her squad would be at that bridge and crying over the scene. Now? Nope. She’s busy attending the Met Gala. Sandy from the Bronx doesn’t really care, it was all political theatrics.

DHS should understand that at least one cable news network is covering the Biden border crisis, usually on a daily basis. FNC has been doing yeoman’s work on the border and one reporter, in particular, Bill Melugin, has even used drones showing video of the scene for news reports. The last few days have shown the crowds under the bridge continue to swell. It is a sea of humanity and not a pretty one. Melugin’s reports get a lot of attention on FNC, the most-watched cable news network. As it happens, the drones have been shut down from flying in the area and documenting the facts on the ground. Allegedly it is a temporary two-week suspension by the FAA. Probably just a coincidence, right? It’s not as though the use of drones in his reporting is a new thing.

“We’ve learned that the FAA just implemented a two week TFR (Temporary Flight Restrictions) over the international bridge in Del Rio, TX, meaning we can no longer fly our FOX drone over it to show images of the thousands of migrants. FAA says ‘special security reason,’” Fox News reporter Bill Melugin tweeted Thursday evening.

Melugin added that Fox News has been using drones for months and there has never been an issue.

“We have reached out to the FAA to ask for clarification on why this TFR was implemented,” Melugin tweeted. “We haven’t heard back yet. Will update if/when we do.”

FAA released a statement throwing Border Patrol under the bus, claiming it requested the flight restriction. It makes no sense.

“The Border Patrol requested the temporary flight restriction due to drones interfering with law enforcement flights on the border,” the FAA said in a statement Thursday evening. “As with any temporary flight restriction, media is able to call the FAA to make requests to operate in the area.”

This is the problem at the southern border in a nutshell. No agency knows what the other is doing. Secretary Mayorkas is missing-in-action, burying his head in the sand in D.C. He acts as if there’s nothing to see here, just move along. It’s a dereliction of duty. He should be happy to let Abbott do the work and bring in the personnel necessary to do the job. Not only is this a humanitarian crisis but it’s a public health crisis, too. COVID-19 is found among the migrants and under that bridge the conditions are far from sanitary. Who knows what disease will begin to spread?

Here are a couple of Melugin’s tweets from this morning, as I write this post. The number of migrants will double, according to reports.

There is no end in sight. Heckuva job, Joe. I’ll end with this. It’s a sad commentary yet it rings true.