The Texas National Guard will send an additional 1,500 troops to the state’s border with Mexico over the next month to conduct a border security mission under the leadership of Governor Greg Abbott. The troops join approximately 1,000 members of the Texas Guard already deployed. (Texas National Guard)
The Texas National Guard will more than double its strength at the state’s border with Mexico to about 2,500 personnel over the next month to provide security and build a border fence under the leadership of Governor Greg Abbott.
Last week alone, National Guard troops arrested more than 2,000 people crossing the border illegally, Lt. Col. Rodney Kelley, director of training and operations for the Texas Military Department, said Thursday during ‘a press conference. They saw 200 more people return to Mexico without crossing, he said.
Guard engineers have already constructed about three miles of border fence and the influx of troops will allow crews to work in multiple areas while inspecting future construction sites, Kelley said. Two teams of engineers are already working along the border, with two more expected to arrive this week.
He described the barrier as a 10ft chain link fence with additional equipment at the top to help secure it.
A dozen teams will be working on border barriers over the next month in partnership with the Texas Department of Public Safety, known as DPS. This increase could allow the Guard to build up to a half-mile of fence per day, Kelley said.
“We have to train. We need to put in place the additional equipment and resources. Then we work with DPS. Through their analysts and working with the governor’s office, they will locate and point out the places that create the greatest need, and we will send teams there and be as efficient as possible in building the infrastructure, ”says Kelley. .
All of the work was done on private property, primarily in the Del Rio area, which includes Val Verde, Kinney and Maverick counties, said Victor Escalon, regional manager for DPS South Texas. Eventually, he said he would like to expand west into the Big Bend area and east into the Rio Grande Valley.
Del Rio became the center of border security this month after about 30,000 migrants, mostly from Haiti, rushed into the city, which resulted in the closure of an international bridge.
While around 8,000 migrants returned to Mexico, the rest were transferred to the United States and many were deported on 17 flights to Haiti, Department of Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on September 24, during a briefing at the White House.
The DPS and the Texas National Guard sent already-deployed personnel to Del Rio as U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers processed the migrants. The bridge reopened over the weekend and Kelley said the Guard has now pre-positioned around 70 Humvees in the area in case a similar situation arises.
Abbott, a Republican, signed a law on Sept. 17 that added nearly $ 1.9 billion to the state’s border security budget, which is expected to increase the number of National Guard troops at the border. Members of the Guard have been working with the DPS since March on a mission called Operation Lone Star.
The Texas Military Department last week asked members of the Texas Guard to volunteer for the border deployment, boasting accommodation and a per $ 55 diem are included.
These state-activated troops are in addition to the 3,500 troops deployed as part of a federal mission along the entire US border with Mexico in support of the Department of Homeland Security, according to Joint Task Force North. , the military headquarters that oversees the mission. The Department of Defense authorized troops to serve in the federal mission until September 2022.
These troops were initially deployed under former President Donald Trump and remain deployed under President Joe Biden, even after Biden rescinded Trump’s declaration of national emergency on the southwest border.