No reports were found to authenticate Greg Abbott's claim on the immigrants. UNHCR speaks on asylum seekers and Refugees under UNHCR's mandate.
On November 26, U.S. President Joe Biden proclaimed restrictions on the entry of immigrants and nonimmigrants who could transmit COVID-19. The Republic of South Africa was added to the list of countries under the new order issued for 14 days from November 29.
On November 29, Texas Public Radio reported the views on the context by Ari Sawyer, U.S. Border Researcher with Human Rights Watch. Sawyer exclaimed that "There is no data to back that up that we know of. "There's always a lag in the data that the Border Patrol publishes. But what I can say is that looking at (data from) United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there's really a negligible amount of asylum seekers co-ming from South Africa."
In Abbott's follow-up tweet on November 30, he said, "Over 50 illegal immigrants from South Africa and other South African countries under the Biden travel ban have been apprehended by CBP this year, with 18 being apprehended this month alone.'' CBP refers to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
On research, there are no collaborating reports in the CBP or other government reports verifying the numbers claimed by Abbott.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR), UN Refugee Agency, accounted in 2021, "Refugees under UNHCR's mandate" were 55 from South Africa to the U.S. and "Asylum-seekers" were 1,236.
Sawyer exclaimed that Abbott was "trying to wind up fears around COVID and around this new strain of COVID to justify his anti-asylum and anti-migrant policies in South Texas."
When questioned on Sawyer's investigation of the implementation of health policies to expel migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, she said, "It's never been about COVID-19. It's always been about blocking asylum seekers and blocking migrants."
There are no conclusive reports on Abbott's claim and Sawyer's allegations on Abbott's actions. Hence the claim is unverifiable.