Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has authorized the deployment of 500 National Guard troops to the Southern Border due to the significant increase in illegal immigration following federal policy changes, according to the governor and a military official.
Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris, Texas adjutant general and commander of the Texas Military Department, confirmed the deployment of the 500 Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border. It comes as various officials who represent areas along the border have warned of a looming humanitarian crisis as migrants attempt to cross into the United States.
“Texas is sending a message to any caravan and to any cartel member. We’re ready. We’re waiting for you. If you dare step into the state of Texas, Texas will use every tool or strategy we can to arrest anybody who’s violating the law, to put behind the bars anybody’s violating the law, to make sure that the laws in the state of Texas are going to be enforced,” Abbott said in a news conference alongside Norris on Tuesday. “If you are a caravan or you’re a cartel, you better take your activities to some other place because they will not be accepted in Texas. ”
Norris added that 100 of the Guard members who are scheduled to be deployed have been sent to the border before.
Border Patrol apprehended about 90,000 people in the Rio Grande Valley in all of 2020, but so far this year, there have been 108,000 apprehensions by Border Patrol, Abbott said.
At the start of his administration, President Joe Biden rescinded several Trump-era immigration policies, including the “Remain in Mexico” initiative, the former president’s border wall construction, and reinstated the Obama-era “catch and release” policy, among others.
Biden administration officials have not yet described the situation at the border as a crisis. White House press secretary Jen Psaki, when asked by reporters about the administration’s immigration policy, said that “we think that it’s most important to explain the substantive policy of what’s happening, what the root causes are of why these kids are coming, and what we’re doing to try to solve what is a very challenging circumstance at the border.”
But the policy change has triggered a “crisis on the Texas border right now,” Abbott said, adding that “open border policies” invite “illegal immigration and is creating a humanitarian crisis in Texas right now that will grow increasingly worse by the day.”
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, whose agency oversees border security and immigration enforcement, said he doesn’t believe there is a crisis brewing along the Southern Border.
“I think there is a challenge at the border that we are managing, and we have our resources dedicated to managing it,” he said. “The men and women of the Department of Homeland Security are working around the clock, seven days a week, to ensure that we do not have a crisis at the border, that we manage the challenge as acute as the challenge is, and they are not doing it alone.”