The Texas Democratic Party nominee for governor told followers that Governor Greg Abbott’s deployment of the National Guard to the border is “a solution in search of a problem.” The nominee made the comment to supporters at a rally on Tuesday.

Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke told supporters at a campaign stop in College Station that the decision to deploy guardsmen under Operation Lone Star is a “solution in search of a problem.” His comments come after more than 2 million migrants crossed the border illegally into the United States under President Joe Biden’s first year in office — more than one million in Texas alone.

There are [National] Guard members from Texas A&M who are on the border right now in Zapata, in Webb, in Hidalgo Counties to go be part of a solution in search of a problem,” O’Rourke told people attending the campaign stop.

Abbott spokesman Mark Miner responded, “Beto O’Rourke needs to tell the more 1,000 Texas families who lost loved ones due to fentanyl that our southern border isn’t a problem.”

On January 20, 2021, newly sworn President Biden canceled the Congressionally authorized border wall and, with a single pen stroke, many other immigration and border security programs put in place by President Trump. The result was an immediate spike in illegal border crossings.
In addition to the spike, smugglers exploited the border crisis to import record-amounts of fentanyl and other illicit drugs.

Governor Abbott’s campaign offered the following details:

Fentanyl Is Flooding Into Texas And The United States Via The U.S. Southern Border With Mexico, Leading To A Massive Increase In Deaths:

“According To The CDC, Fentanyl Is The Leading Cause Of Death For Adults Ages 18-45 In The United States.”(Dan Grossman, “Fentanyl Is The Leading Cause Of Death In Americans Ages 18-45,” KMGH-TV, 1/4/22)

In 2021 There Were Over 1,000 Fentanyl-Related Deaths In Texas (Provisional Data). (Texas Department Of State Health Services, Accessed 2/8/22) 

The Border Patrol Seized 10,586 Pounds Of Fentanyl At The U.S.’s Southern Border With Mexico In Fiscal Year 2021. “Fentanyl, an opioid for pain treatment, is between 50 and 100 times more potent than morphine. In Fiscal Year 2021, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized 10,586 lbs of the deadly drug at the southern border, which can be fatal in extremely small amounts.” (Adam Shaw, “Abbott Says Enough Fentanyl Seized In Texas To Kill 222 Million Americans, Biden ‘Does Not Care’,” Fox News, 1/27/22)

·         Texas DPS Alone Seized 887 Pounds Of Fentanyl In 2021. “As of 12/16/21, [TX DPS] have seized 887 lbs of #Fentanyl = 201,128,322 [deadly] doses. This deadly drug continues to plague our country, but the brave men & women of [TX DPS] are safeguarding Texans & the U.S. Border Security is National Security.” (Twitter.com, 12/22/21)

The Number Of Fentanyl-Related Deaths In The United States Increased By 56 Percent Between 2019 And 2020, The Most Recent Numbers Available. “The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone, which include such drugs as fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol, increased from 1999 through 2020, with different rates of change over time (Figure 4). From 2019 to 2020, the rate increased 56%, from 11.4 to 17.8 per 100,000.” (“Drug Overdose Deaths In The United States, 1999–2020,” U.S. Centers For Disease Control, Accessed 2/7/22)

“Fentanyl, A Drug Approved For Pain Treatment, Killed More Than 64,000 Americans From April 2020-April 2021, According To The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention.” (Phelim Kine, “The War On Drugs Puts A Target On China,” Politico, 2/7/22)

·         “A Recent Stanford-Lancet Study Warned That The U.S. Opioid Overdose Death Toll Could Rise To 1.2 Million by 2029.” (Phelim Kine, “The War On Drugs Puts A Target On China,” Politico, 2/7/22)

In March 2021, Governor Abbott initiated Operation Lone Star, which led to the deployment of thousands of Texas National Guard soldiers and airmen plus more than 1,000 Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers. The surge in personnel led to more than 105,000 migrant encounters and  participation in significant drug and weapons seizures, Breitbart Texas reported.

“The work each of our service members is doing is very important,” Texas Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris told Breitbart Texas. “Their presence along the border creates a significant deterrence to criminal activity along our southern border.”

General Norris offered the following in a statement released in February:

  • Approximately, 105,000 illegal migrants have been apprehended or referred to our partner federal and state law enforcement agencies;
  • More than 9,000 individuals, attempting to enter Texas illegally, have been returned to Mexico;
  • Significant drug and weapon seizures have occurred, including the lethal drug fentanyl;
  • And the ongoing construction of temporary barriers, including 10 miles of temporary barriers, with an additional 60 miles under construction contract, along the border is further deterring criminal activity.

The Democratic Party nominee frequently uses the “solution” phrase for high-profile issues. In March 2021, O’Rourke derided a voter fraud bill under consideration.

He repeated the comment when testifying before the Texas Senate in July 2021.

During his failed presidential campaign in February 2019, Politico tweeted a statement from O’Rourke where he called President Donald Trump’s border wall “a solution in search of a problem.”

And, during his failed Senate campaign in January 2018, O’Rourke again used the phrase.

In unofficial results from this month’s Texas primary election, O’Rourke garnered less than one million votes statewide with no major opposition, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
In contrast, Governor Abbott, in a highly contested race, earned the votes of nearly 1.3 million in the Republican primary race and handily avoided a runoff.

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