Texas Gov. Abbott grants state authorities power to return illegal immigrants to border, adds security funds

About 5,000 migrants were arrested for illegally crossing the Texas border over the July 4th weekend, Gov. Abbott said

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott authorized the National Guard and Department of Public Safety on Thursday to detain immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally between ports of entry and return them to the border. 

It's the latest action that Texas has taken to ramp up security at the border, which is currently experiencing "historic levels of illegal crossings," according to the governor. 

"While President Biden refuses to do his job and enforce the immigration laws enacted by Congress, the State of Texas is once again stepping up and taking unprecedented action to protect Americans and secure our southern border," Abbott said Thursday. 

A migrant family sits after being processed on May 05, 2022, in Roma, Texas. 

A migrant family sits after being processed on May 05, 2022, in Roma, Texas.  (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Authorities in Texas have already stopped immigrants from illegally crossing the border about 523,000 times between January and May of this year, up from 417,000 during the same time frame in 2021. 

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Illegal border crossings typically slow during the hot summer months, but about 5,000 migrants were apprehended over the July 4th weekend, Abbott said. 

Officials from several Texas counties declared the crisis at the border an "invasion" on Tuesday and called for Abbott to do the same. Rep. Henry Cuellar, Democrat, has also called on the Biden administration to stop the historic chaos at the border. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott launched Operation Lone Star last year in response to surging border crossings. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott launched Operation Lone Star last year in response to surging border crossings.  (Fox News)

Gov. Abbott also announced $30 million in additional grants for cities and counties through Operation Lone Star on Thursday, adding to billions in funding that has already been allocated to fight crime related to illegal immigration at the southern border. 

"As the challenges on the border continue to increase, Texas will continue to take action to address those challenges caused by the Biden Administration," Abbott said Thursday. 

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The Justice Department is currently investigating the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Department of Public Safety for potential civil rights violations related to Operation Lone Star, Fox News Digital reported Wednesday. 

TDCJ and DPS said that they are cooperating with the Justice Department's investigation. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.