As part of a two-day visit to the tall city, Texas Governor Greg Abbott held a round table discussion Thursday afternoon at the Horseshoe arena in Midland with local law enforcement officials regarding the ongoing crisis at the southern border. 

Officials in attendance included Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw, Midland County Judge Terry Johnson, and various local law enforcement officials from neighboring counties. 

After a roughly one-hour discussion, Abbott told reporters that the meeting was to find out more about what challenges local law enforcement is facing due to the “open border policies” of the Biden Administration. 

The governor summarized the discussion with several announcements regarding the state’s effort to secure the border despite the Biden Administration, saying that Texas has deployed 7500 officers to the border, more officers now than ever before.  

In addition, Abbott said the state is in the process to begin building a border wall, saying that construction is set to begin soon. 

Pointing to some of the new laws passed by the Texas Legislature, Abbott said the legislature has banned the “deadly” narcotic fentanyl, which he says is being smuggled across the border in large quantities, and once again laid the blame of the increase in drug trafficking at the Biden Administration.  

DPS Director Steven McCraw said that DPS is apprehending vast increases in the amounts of every kind of hard narcotic, and along with the mass migration of people constantly surging on the border, state law enforcement is apprehending people with extensive prior criminal backgrounds. 

When asked about whether an additional special session of the Texas Legislature may be needed, Abbott responded by saying “[a] special session could happen at any time,” but then redirected the question to the border saying, “our job right now is to focus on making sure we secure the border and making it secure as possible ahead of caravans coming from Mexico and make them realize Texas is the wrong place to come to.”

Midland County Sheriff David Criner said he appreciated the governor for taking the time to realize and support local law enforcement in the Permian Basin and said that the officers in the region shared a great relationship and work very well together. 

Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis said it was nice to hear about what the state was trying to accomplish at the round table, but it is “hard to have faith in what government is doing today, at either the federal or state level.” 

Sheriff Griffis also said he asked the governor about putting more funding in the state prison space and said the state needs to stop putting “hard criminals” back out on the streets with light sentences. 

“Why do we take the chance on criminals who commit child sex crimes?” Griffis stated as an example, and concluded by saying, “put them in prison for life or give them the death penalty.”  

Governor Abbott is set to deliver a keynote address to a luncheon held by the National Hispanic Republican Assembly on Friday in Midland, and will conclude his two-day visit to the Permian Basin with a tailgate event that afternoon for the Midland Legacy/Permian High School football game.

Matt Stringer is a journalist from Odessa, Texas.