Governor Abbott Announces New Texas Border Czar | Office of the Texas Governor

January 30, 2023 | Austin, Texas Press release

Governor Greg Abbott today announced the new position of Texas Border Czar to oversee border security in the absence of President Joe Biden at a press conference at the Texas border wall construction site in San Benito. Mike Banks has been hired as a Special Advisor on Border Affairs to the Governor and will serve as the first ever Border Czar in the State of Texas.

“For nearly two years, the State of Texas has taken historic and unprecedented action under Operation Lone Star in response to the Biden Administration’s refusal to secure the border,” Governor Abbott said. “To continue doing what no other state in the history of the country has done to secure the border, I hired Mike Banks as the first ever Border Czar in the State of Texas. 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 in illegal immigration, deadly drugs, and deadly weapons flowing into our state and nation. Texans — and Americans — experience the level of border security expertise they deserve from a proper Border Czar.”

Steve McCraw, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and Major General Thomas Suelzer of the Texas Military Department (TMD) joined the Governor for the announcement.

“I am thrilled to have been selected by Governor Abbott for this opportunity,” said Border Czar Banks. “I have been dedicated to protecting our nation’s border for the past 23 years of my life, and I am extremely passionate about it. I look forward to strengthening our relationships with law enforcement partners and the public, leveraging all that we can to further protect. our great state of Texas and the United States.”

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“No Governor has given 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 to work 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 while securing the border.”

Border Czar Banks will report directly to Governor Abbott and ensure that border security strategies are fully implemented 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 to deter and deport migrants from illegally crossing into Texas from Mexico. Border Czar Banks will also advise the Governor on border security situations and strategies, including planning operations in advance of a migrant surge, such as the El Paso operations in December 2022. To best serve Texans and Americans, Border Czar Bank will be based out of Weslaco. and travel along the border, and state, as necessary.

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Mike Banks He is a former Weslaco Border Patrol Station Patrol Agent (USBP) de Mission in Command. Banks has more than three decades of federal law enforcement leadership experience, with 23 years in border security operations and administration along the United States-Mexico border. He previously served as Acting Deputy Chief of Law Enforcement Operational Programs at USBP headquarters in Washington, DC, USBP McAllen Station Patrol Agent in Charge, USBP Rio Grande Valley Sector Executive Officer and Acting Division Chief, and various other USBP leadership positions in Texas, Arizona, and California. He is also a former member of the US Navy Military Police. Banks holds an associate degree in Administration of Justice from Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California, a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from South Texas College, and other awards from the US Navy and USBP.

Governor Abbott has taken unprecedented action to secure the border after the inaction of the federal government, including:

  • Securing $4 billion in funding for Texas border security efforts
  • Launching Operation Lone Star and deploying thousands of Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety troops
  • Take aggressive action to help border communities, including busing thousands of migrants to Washington, DC, New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia
  • Designation of Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations to keep Texans safe amid growing national fentanyl crisis
  • Arrest and imprison criminals who commit trespass or other state crimes along the southern border
  • Issue an executive order authorizing the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety to turn illegal immigrants back to the border at ports of entry
  • Allocate resources to acquire 1,700 unused steel panels for the construction of the border wall in Texas
  • Sign a law to make it easier to prosecute smugglers who bring people into Texas
  • Sign 15 laws that crack down on human trafficking in Texas
  • Sign a law that improves penalties for the manufacture and distribution of fentanyl
  • Issuing a disaster declaration for the border crisis
  • Issue an executive order prohibiting non-governmental entities from transporting illegal immigrants
  • Signing memorandums of understanding between the State of Texas and the States of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to improve border security measures in their states that will prevent illegal immigration from Mexico to Texas
  • Activate the Joint Border Security Operations Center (JBSOC) and direct the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Department of the Military, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management to coordinate the Texas response to secure the border
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Read more on additional actions taken by the Governor to secure the border.


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