(The Center Square) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott endorsed former President Donald Trump Sunday in the Rio Grande Valley, using border security and national security as his primary reason for doing so.

The governor and former president also delivered Thanksgiving meals to Texas National Guard troops, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, and other service members stationed on the border over Thanksgiving in Edinburg, Texas.

They did so, Abbott said, because the Texas law enforcement officers serving through his border security mission, Operation Lone Star, “should not be here at this time. The only reason they are here is because the president is not securing our border.”

“If the president enforced the existing laws, our border would be secure,” Abbott said, referring to President Joe Biden. “The president can secure the border,” he said, which is “why I am officially endorsing Donald Trump for president.”

“If you go back four years, ago we had the lowest border crossing in history,” Abbott said, noting five policies Trump put in place. They were: Remain in Mexico, Title 42, eliminating the Obama-era catch and release policy, building the border wall, and telling foreign nationals “if you want to come here, come legally.”

“Then came [president] Joe Biden, who eliminated all of those policies and what has happened to our country has been catastrophic,” he said.

Abbott cited the more than 8 million people who’ve illegally entered the U.S., excluding gotaways, since Biden’s been in office. More than 10 million, including gotaways, have illegally entered according to data previously published by The Center Square. They total more than the individual populations of 41 states.

More than 1.9 million have illegally entered Texas since January 2021, according to data The Center Square previously reported.

Abbott said they total more than four Manhattans and three Chicagos.

“If you are in Chicago and New York and are tired of open border policies, you need a new president,” he said. “We’ve been doing what we’ve been doing because Biden is such an abject failure.”

Abbott also said, “the most concerning thing for fellow Americans is the number coming across on the terrorist watch list,” referring to the 736 known, suspected terrorists (KSTs) apprehended by CBP officials in fiscal 2023.

From fiscal 2020-2023, 1,586 KSTs were apprehended, according to CBP data.

Those who haven’t been caught are believed to be among the roughly 1.7 million gotaways who’ve illegally entered nationwide since Biden first took office. However, the number is estimated to be closer to 2 million, The Center Square previously reported.

The number of KSTs, Abbott said, is “known to be an all-time record but what we do not know is the number who were not apprehended.”

“[President] Joe Biden is causing a potential terrorist threat against America,” he said. “Joe Biden has failed at national security. There is no way that America can continue under the leadership of Joe Biden.”

The governor endorsed Trump, who he said will secure the border, restore law and order and implement world peace.

Trump thanked him for his endorsement, saying, “I am going to make your job much easier.” He said Texas will be able to focus on other things instead of securing its shared border with Mexico.

Trump also said he expects 15 million people to illegally enter the country by the time Biden’s first term is over.

Trump has previously pledged to reinstate his previous policies, shut down the border, and continue rebuilding the border wall. In August, he said the first thing he will do as president is shut down the border and deport “hundreds of thousands of criminals that have been allowed into our country.”

Foreign nationals who’ve illegally entered the U.S. have been reported to have come from over 170 countries, “from places many people have never heard of coming into our country,” Trump said. “They are coming in from mental institutions, they are coming from prisons. They are emptying their prisons from all over South America. They are emptying out their mental institutions. Terrorists are pouring in and we have no idea [who they are].”

Trump said he “had the strongest border in the history of our country. I built almost 500 miles of wall. I had another 200 to build. We built it, all they had to do was install it,” he said, referring to Biden halting border wall construction on his first day in office.

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