Where do Texas’ Abbott, O’Rourke stand on border crisis?

Texas Governor Debate

Greg Abbott and Beto O’Rourke (Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott will debate Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke Friday at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburgh, Texas. NewsNation will broadcast the event live from 7-8 p.m. CT/8-9 p.m. ET and will answer viewer questions each day leading up to the debate.

Monday’s question came from NewsNation viewer Jan Bolluyt who asked the candidates: “What is your solution to the border crisis?”

Incumbent Abbott’s efforts to secure the border have included the launch of Operation Lone Star — an initiative that sent members of the Texas National Guard and Department of Public Safety to the border in response to an influx of migrants.

“Whether President Biden views the border crisis as Texas’ problem or it is just politically inconvenient for him to do his job, mass illegal immigration is a humanitarian crisis for those putting their lives in the hands of ruthless coyotes or smugglers and a national security crisis for all American,” Abbott wrote in a Washington-Times op-ed. “The crisis at the border is not for Texas or any other border state to handle alone. It is up to our nation’s leaders to stand up for the rule of law that makes America so exceptional.”

Starting earlier this year, the governor drew national attention when he sent a bus of migrants to the nation’s capitol in protest of President Joe Biden’s federal immigration policies.

Abbott also created DPS “strike teams” and created new vehicle inspection checkpoints targeting semi-trucks and commercial vehicles.

O’Rourke, who is from El Paso on the western end of the state’s border, says both parties have treated the border “like a political football.”

“What I propose, though, is instead of these stunts, which are so cruel and unkind not just to those migrants but those of us who live in Texas, Border Patrol agents who we put on their backs this entire immigration system that is so badly broken, what if instead we had a Texas-based guest worker program?” O’Rourke said during an interview Wednesday on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”

O’Rourke has advocated for border technology such as sensors, surveillance towers, and drones capable of detecting crossings between ports of entry.

He’s also suggested increasing processing capacity to allow for more efficient screening for asylum eligibility and criminal background checks. He says the U.S. can deter illegal migration by guaranteeing legal pathways and supporting the economy with a guest worker program that allows migrants to fill labor shortages.

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