Cassandra Pollock, Texas Tribune, June 21, 2019
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 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 trio of leaders also underscored the fact that that they’re fed up with inaction in Washington, D.C., on the issue — and rejected any suggestion that they’ve enabled it by doling out millions of state dollars for border security.
“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.
In the final days of the 86th regular legislative session, state budget writers emerged with a proposal to funnel an extra $100 million from the state’s savings account to Abbott’s office for “surge operations necessary to secure the border.” Lawmakers said they anticipated the federal government to repay the funds — but after pushback from some Democrats, both the House and Senate voted to strip the funding.
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.