Texas will deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to the border amid migrant surge

By Cassandra Pollock
© 2018 The Texas Tribune

Troops will "provide assistance at temporary holding facilities" in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso and help at ports of entry, said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday that the state will deploy 1,000 troops from the Texas National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to aid the federal government with border security efforts.

“There is an escalating crisis at the border — a crisis Congress is refusing to fix,” said Abbott, who was flanked by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, along with Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris, the adjutant general of the Texas National Guard, during a news conference at the Texas Capitol.

Abbott said the troops will “provide assistance at temporary holding facilities” in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso and also help at ports of entry. The federal government, he said, will pay “100% of the costs of this short-term mission.”

Migrant apprehensions along the border have continued to surge in recent months. According to numbers released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the beginning of June, roughly 133,000 people were apprehended or surrendered to border agents along the southwest border in May.

In the El Paso and Del Rio sectors, the number of migrants crossing the border has jumped 43% and 46%, respectively, since April. The vast majority of migrants entering the country are unaccompanied minors or families from Central America who are seeking asylum in the United States.

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.

© 2018 The Texas Tribune