AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Governor Greg Abbott is ordering the immediate deployment of an additional 1,000 National Guard members to combat an "escalating crisis" at the Texas-Mexico border.
Abbott made the announcement at a press conference earlier today at the Texas Capitol alongside Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and Texas National Guard Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris.
"This surge, left unchecked, increases the risk of potentially dangerous individuals as well as gang members crossing the border," stated Abbott. "It increases the risk of drugs and illegal contraband being brought into Texas."
Abbott says the National Guard members will assist the Border Patrol at temporary holding facilities in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso, which are holding single adults awaiting transfer to ICE or immigration hearings, and they will assist at the ports of entry.
"This effort is focused on reducing the humanitarian crisis at the border, on increasing border protection and security for our communities, and on expediting trade between the United States and Mexico," he said.
Abbott says the latest deployment is in addition to the $800 million appropriated by the Texas Legislature to help respond to the challenges of a "broken immigration system," including the appropriations for 500 Texas Department of Public Safety troopers assigned to the Texas-Mexico border.
"All of these actions are necessary because Congress has failed to do its job," he said. "...While we wait for Congress to act, Texas will do all we can to protect our communities and secure the border."
In the past three weeks alone, Abbott says 45,000 people have been apprehended illegally crossing the international border into Texas. Those illegal immigrants represent 52 countries from across the globe, not just Central America.
Texas currently has 1,000 National Guard troops deployed to the Texas-Mexico border and, with an additional 200 National Guard troops from other states, will bring the total to over 2,200 troops deployed to assist Border Patrol operations.
Patrick says the Texas Legislature has appropriated $800 million to border security over the last three legislative session — a responsibility he says falls on the federal government and not the individual taxpayers of Texas, or any other state.
The latest mission, or deployment of the Texas National Guard, will be "short term" and 100% funded by the federal government, according to Abbott.
In closing the press conference, Abbott stated, "My message to them is Congress is a group of reprobates for not addressing the crisis at our border. We’re not going to stand idly by and endanger the lives and safety of the state of Texas because Congress is refusing to do its job."
In May 2019, 132,887 people were apprehended between ports of entry on the Southwest Border, compared with 99,304 in April and 92,840 in March, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection — nearly as many total apprehensions in all of Fiscal Year 2018, which tallied 396,579 individuals apprehended between ports of entry on our Southwest Border. Year-to-date, not including June figures which are not complete, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has apprehended 593,507 people in the Southwest Border region.
I just deployed 1,000 National Guard Troops to the border.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 21, 2019
This is needed because more than 45,000 people were apprehended crossing our border illegally in the last 3 weeks.
They come from 52 different countries.
Congress must do its job and fund border security. pic.twitter.com/gIsfOmQKoM