Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott Reuters

More than twice of Texas' likely voters approve of Governor Greg Abbott's handling of the surge in border crossings than President Joe Biden's, a new poll by the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation found.

Concretely, 54% of respondents gave the governor passing marks (the figure being 47% for Latinos) compared to 24% who said the same about the president.

"With respect to border security, Gov. Abbott has his hand squarely on the pulse of what Texas voters want. From busing immigrants to other states, to supporting high levels of spending on border security, these numbers show that all Texans, including Hispanics, support Governor Abbott's muscular policies on these issues," said Jason Villalba, Chairman and CEO of the TXHPF.

Moreover, over six in ten likely voters (61%) approved Abbott's policy of spending $3.5 billion a year on border security. Figures, however, varied based on political leaning, as 88% of Republicans approved of this compared to 33% of Democrats. Independents were in the middle, with 64% giving this answer.

Results seem to be accompanying the overall approval rates, as the amount of migrants entering the U.S. through Texas has been dropping sharply over the past months.

U.S. Mexican Border Wall
The U.S. Mexican Border Wall. Creative Commons

In fact, more migrants were encountered by Border Patrol agents outside of Texas each of the first three months of this year, according to the Texas Tribune. During the 2023 fiscal year, Texas on average accounted for roughly 59% of migrant encounters along the southwest border. During the first half of the 2024 fiscal year, which began in October, Texas has on average accounted for 43% of migrant encounters.

In November, non-Texas sectors recorded roughly 104,000 migrant encounters compared to about 87,000 recorded in Texas' five sectors. The biggest decrease in encounters occurred in the Del Rio sector, which includes Eagle Pass, where agents recorded more than 70,000 migrant encounters in December compared to fewer than 20,000 in each of the first months of 2024, The Texas Tribune reported.

But even if Abbott has been taking credit for the drop, experts have clarified that several factors come into play when explaining this. One of them is Mexico's recent increased enforcement efforts by arresting or detaining more migrants from other countries, said Adam Isacson, director of defense oversight at the Washington Office of Latin America, an advocacy group for human rights in the Americas.

Experts also believe that it is possible that Senate Bill 4, Texas' new immigration law that would let state police arrest people suspected of entering the country illegally, is causing a "wait and see" moment that typically accompanies any new immigration policy, Isacson said.

Policy experts also credit the Biden administration for the recent trend, pointing out a visit from frop top U.S. officials, like Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejando Mayorkas, to Mexico to discuss immigration with their Mexican counterparts.

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