Governor Greg Abbott today announced the new position of Texas Border Czar. Abbott said the position is needed to oversee border security in President Joe Biden's absence. He made the announcement at a press conference on a Texas border wall construction site in San Benito.
Abbott said Mike Banks has been hired as Special Advisor on Border Matters to the Governor and will serve as the State of Texas' first-ever Border Czar.
"For nearly two years, the State of Texas has taken unprecedented, historic action under Operation Lone Star in response to the Biden Administration's refusal to secure the border," said Governor Abbott. "To continue doing what no other state in the history of our country has done to secure the border, I hired Mike Banks as the State of Texas' first-ever Border Czar. As an award-winning Border Patrol Agent, with decades of federal law enforcement and border security experience, Mike is the perfect choice to oversee Texas' fight against the surge of illegal immigration, lethal drugs, and deadly weapons flowing into our state and nation. I have no doubt that Mike's strong record of leadership and wealth of experience will provide Texans—and Americans—the level of border security expertise they deserve from a proper Border Czar."
The Governor was joined for the announcement by Border Czar Banks, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw, and Texas Military Department (TMD) Major General Thomas Suelzer.
"I am humbled to be selected by Governor Abbott for this opportunity," said Border Czar Banks. "Protecting our nation’s border is something I have dedicated the last 23 years of my life to, and I am very passionate about it. I look forward to strengthening our relationships with law enforcement partners and the community, leveraging all that we can to further protect our great state of Texas and the United States."
"No Governor has dedicated more time, energy, and effort in terms of public safety, homeland security, and border security than Governor Abbott," said Director Steve McCraw. "I welcome Mike Banks to the Texas team as we continue working to secure the border."
"I applaud Governor Abbott for selecting Mike Banks as Texas' Border Czar," said Major General Suelzer. "The Texas National Guard and I look forward to working with Mike in our mission to protect Texans as we secure the border."
Border Czar Banks will report directly to Governor Abbott and ensure border security strategies are fully executed in Texas in the absence of meaningful federal action. He will collaborate daily with TMD, DPS, and other state agencies, local officials, and Texas landowners to carry out Operation Lone Star's mission of deterring and repelling migrants from illegally crossing into Texas from Mexico. Border Czar Banks will also advise the Governor on border security situations and strategies, including the planning of operations ahead of migrant surges, like that of El Paso in December 2022. To best serve Texans and Americans, Border Czar Banks will be based out of Weslaco and travel along the border, and state, as necessary.