Texas Gov. Greg Abbott deployed a special tactical National Guard force to the southern border on Monday to slow down the expected surge of illegal immigrants crossing into the United States after the Biden Administration ends COVID-19 restrictions this week.
Abbott has openly criticized President Joe Biden for his open-border policies and his decision to end Title 42, a Trump-era public health order that allowed for the immediate expulsion of illegal immigrants, which some have predicted would bring a fresh cascade of illegal migration upward of 13,000 crossings a day.
As the nation prepares for the order to expire on May 11, Abbot announced the deployment of up to 10,000 specially trained National Guard members from the Texas Tactical Border Force and 1,200 Texas Department of Public Safety troopers to secure the Texas border amidst the “chaos” caused by Biden eliminating the COVID-19 restrictions at the Mexican border.
“They will be deployed to hot spots along the border to intercept to repel and to turn back migrants who are trying to enter Texas illegally,” Abbott said at a news conference, adding that the elite National Guard would identify, fill in the gaps, and shut down some 29 crossing points along the border using equipment and tools such as aircraft, boats, night vision equipment, and riot gear.
The Texas National Guard said in a statement to Fox News that it activated 545 more service members at locations around the state Monday to “reinforce the border mission in anticipation of the end of Title 42 immigration restrictions.”
“These additional forces will bolster the thousands of Texas National Guard service members already assisting local and state law enforcement agencies to secure the border; stop the smuggling of drugs, weapons and people into Texas; and prevent, detect, and interdict transnational criminal behavior between the ports of entry,” the Texas National Guard said in a statement Monday. “We have expanded our capabilities to include boat teams that patrol hundreds of river miles, drones and helicopters that detect illicit activity from the air, and brush teams, security points and roving patrols that block and interdict illegal smuggling (drugs, weapons and people) into Texas.”
Texas Border Czar Mike Banks, Texas National Guard Adjunct Gen. Thomas Suelzer, and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw joined Abbott in making the announcement on Monday.
Major General Suelzer said the Texas National Guard is executing a planned, multi-phased response in preparation for the end of Title 42.
“We have shifted troops to hotspots, added additional drone teams, and increased miles of barrier along the border,” Suelzer said.
Texas Department of Public Safety Director McCraw added that the state agency increased resources at the border, deployed hundreds of troopers around the state to “hold the line.”
“There are 29 places you can cross into the U.S. legally, and our job is to ensure we hold that line and keep those the only places these people can cross,” McCraw said.
Illegal immigration has surged to unprecedented levels since Biden was elected.
Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz reported last week that law enforcement made over 22,000 apprehensions at the southern border over three days or about 7,000 per day.
Biden announced last week the administration would send 1,500 troops to the border to perform administrative and logistical functions, leaving the Border Patrol to actively police the border and apprehend migrants.
El Paso Democratic Mayor Oscar Leeser declared a state of emergency in his city ahead of Title 42’s end. El Paso already has illegal migrants sleeping on its streets as it prepares for a wave of migrants on the heels of Title 42’s repeal next week. During a press conference announcing the state of emergency, Leeser said he visited Juarez and saw migrants camping just across the U.S. border, waiting for the health policy to end.
In addition to his announcement on Monday, Gov. Abbott said he would continue busing migrants north of Texas to Democrat-run cities like Chicago and New York City, work with state lawmakers to criminalize illegally entering Texas from Mexico and impose a 10-year minimum jail sentence for anyone convicted of smuggling people into Texas.