Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Friday that he will order 1,000 National Guard troops to the state’s southern border in response to an “escalating crisis”. He assured Texas taxpayers that the federal government will pick up the tab.
Joining Governor Abbott for the announcement were Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen. Abbott blames Congressional inaction for the necessity of the additional troops on the Texas border. He said that 45,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended by federal authorities as they crossed the border in the last three weeks. There are 1,200 National Guardsmen serving at the Texas border already.
Abbott faulted Congress for refusing to pass laws to overhaul the nation’s immigration system and for not dealing with what he called a “humanitarian crisis” at the border.
“It leaves states like Texas fending for themselves,” he said. “While we wait for Congress to act, Texas will do all it can to protect its communities and to secure the border.”
An Abbott spokesman said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would pay for the deployment, which Abbott characterized as a “short-term mission.” There are 1,200 National Guardsmen already working along the Texas-Mexico border.
The overall numbers from the crisis at the border are staggering. 133,000 illegal aliens were apprehended or surrendered to border agents along the southwest border in May. Since April, the number of those crossing at El Paso jumped 43% and at Del Rio the number jumped 46%. How, exactly, can one state keep up with that kind of escalation on its own? It can’t.
Governor Abbott outlined the role of the National Guard as he claimed that the mission is a short-termed one that will be paid for by the federal government.
Abbott said the troops will have two main roles: to help at temporary holding facilities for single adult migrants in the Rio Grande Valley and in El Paso, and to help Border Patrol units along ports of entry. The federal government, he said, will pay “100% of the costs of this short-term mission,” which will roughly double the number of Texas troops currently stationed at the border.
The elected officials in Washington, D.C. are not looked upon favorably in their handling of crisis on the border by Texas state leaders. Governor Abbott had some choice words for them. National Guardsmen on the border is nothing new but the numbers of those apprehended at the border in recent months are at a level not previously seen.
“Congress is a group of reprobates for not addressing a crisis on our border,” said Abbott, who signed a 2020-21 state budget earlier this month that has $800 million earmarked for border security operations.
National Guard deployments at the Texas-Mexico border have become relatively common in recent years. President Donald Trump sent troops to the border in 2018 after saying Congress wasn’t acting on border security.
Trump’s two predecessors, Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama, also temporarily sent guard troops to the border. Bush sent about 6,000 National Guard troops there in 2006. Obama deployed 1,200 in 2010.
And Abbott’s predecessor, Republican Rick Perry, deployed state guard units as tens of thousands of migrants from Central America began crossing illegally into Texas, mainly in the Rio Grande Valley.
It may not surprise you to know that Texas Democrats object to the additional troops being deployed to the border.
“Deploying 1,000 new troops to the border is reckless, unnecessary, and further serves to harm our relationships with our strategic allies in Central America and Mexico,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party. “Trump, Abbott, Patrick, and Texas Republicans continue to demonize our border communities with their actions and rhetoric while pushing forth policies that will upend our border families’ entire way of life. Deploying new troops to the border solves nothing.”
Hinojosa called for immigration reform and for working with Central American countries to tackle the extreme poverty and violence that leads people to migrate to the United States.
Rep. Rafael Anchia, a Dallas Democrat who leads the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, said in a prepared statement that he welcomed “a shift that recognizes a need for humanitarian assistance and keeping trade flowing with our neighbors to the south.”
“Last summer, we saw the Trump Administration open a ‘tent city’ in an attempt to circumvent the care provided to migrant children in their custody,” Anchia said. “We will not accept a repeat. It’s the duty of the Texas Legislature and all levels of government to ensure that the highest levels of care and standards are followed in every detention center operating in Texas.”
The troops will assist federal immigration authorities at ports of entry. New holding facilities will open in the coming weeks in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso. Governor Abbott wants Congress to increase funding for Border Patrol handling the influx of asylum seekers. He is particularly concerned about the safety and well-being of the children being brought over the border.
“Every child that’s not being taken care of adequately at the border, Congress is an accomplice to any harm they suffer,” Abbott said.
State Democrats may complain about the actions of the governor but they offer no solutions. The open borders crowd never does much more than criticize those who are working on the problems as they present themselves. Securing the border is not ethnic cleansing and the detention centers are not concentration camps. Catch and release is not a sustainable solution. The flow of those who attempt to enter the U.S. illegally must be stopped.