EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he has authorized members of the Texas National Guard to the border to arrest people who have crossed the border illegally.
Abbott said he is surging the Texas National Guard to better secure the border, saying that guardsmen will also help with the early stages of constructing border barriers and a border wall.
The National Guard typically does not have immigration law enforcement capabilities, but they help by keeping a lookout.
In late July, Abbott sent a letter to Maj. Gen. Tracy R. Norris, Adjutant General of the Texas National Guard, ordering guardsmen to assist the Texas Department of Public Safety with individuals who face state charges, such as trespassing.
Because Abbott has made funding for border security one priority for the current legislative Special Session, he is urging border sheriffs and county judges to make their voices heard at a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Saturday. Part of that funding includes the deployment of more National Guard to the border, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
Officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety have also been sent to border communities as part of Operation Lone Star, which launched in March. Since then, troopers have made over 4,600 arrests for things like criminal mischief and criminal trespass.
The operation has also led to the confiscation of more than 700 pounds of cocaine; 127 pounds of fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid; over 8,500 pounds of marijuana; and more than 270 firearms to date.
U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered 212,672 migrants along the Southwest border in July, nearly 24,000 more than the previous month and the highest monthly total this fiscal year.
The majority of the encounters — about 146,00 — occurred at the Texas-Mexico in July.