AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to President Joe Biden Tuesday, demanding answers to what the governor called a "humanitarian crisis at the southern border." In recent weeks, the governor has blamed the president for a "surge" in migrants at the Texas-Mexico border.
"Recent decisions by your administration are emboldening dangerous cartels, smugglers, and human traffickers to ramp up their criminal operations," Abbott wrote in the letter. "In many cases, these criminals entice unaccompanied minors into inhumane conditions and expose them to abuse and terror."
The governor asked the Biden administration to "interview every unaccompanied minor coming across the border to determine if any child has been harmed, groomed, or victimized by human traffickers in any way" and demanded that the administration "make clear what they are doing to prosecute human traffickers and address the surge in border crossings."
According to Abbott's letter, "more than 11,000 minors have been apprehended crossing the border into Texas" this year.
This comes as photos from a border facility in Texas showed children crowded inside small rooms.
President Biden told reporters Sunday that he would go to the border "at some point."
In the letter, Abbott asked President Biden for answers to the following questions:
- How are these children coming across the border and who is helping them get here?
- Were these children abused or harmed in any way on their journeys?
- Were these children forced to carry contraband into the United States?
- Were these children or their families assisted, coerced, and threatened by cartel members or human traffickers?
- Are these children being effectively screened by appropriately trained personnel to identify potential victims of abuse, assault, and trafficking? What is the screening tool being used? When is that screening taking place and by whom? Are these children being provided a thorough medical screening that may separately identify abuse and assault?
- How many victims of physical abuse, sexual assault, or trafficking has your administration identified?
- Are you using effective DNA tests to confirm familial relations? How else are you ensuring that these children are being released to safe, trustworthy adults?
- What specific measures can you point to that confirm that these children are not released to human traffickers in the United States?
- What action is your administration taking to prosecute those who traffic unaccompanied minors?
You can read the governor's full letter to the president below:
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