(The Center Square) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday he is deploying a tactical border force ahead of the public health authority Title 42 ending on Thursday.
The plans were unveiled on the tarmac of the Austin Bergstrom International Airport.
As he spoke, the new Texas National Guard Tactical Border Force Unit began loading up behind him into black helicopters and C-130 military planes.
“President [Joe] Biden is laying down a welcome mat to people across the entire world saying that the United States border is wide open and it will lead to an incredible amount of people coming across the border illegally,” Abbott said, which will “cause a catastrophic disaster in the United States.”
Citing Biden administration estimates that 13,000 foreign nationals are expected to cross the southern border illegally every day, he said that amounts to about 4.7 million people who “will be coming across the border illegally,” or more “than there are residents of the massive city of Chicago.”
In response, he said, “Texas is doing more than any other state in the United States of America to defend the southern border.”
Adjutant General of the Texas Military Department Major General Thomas Suelzer said the Texas National Guard has executed a multiphase response to Title 42 ending. Phase 1 began last month and is complete, he said, involving shifting troops to hot spots along the border. Last month, 200 additional troops were deployed to El Paso and they also erected 22,000 miles of concertina wire barriers to block illegal entry between ports of entry.
“Yesterday two quick reaction forces were deployed,” Suelzer said to opposite ends of the Texas-Mexico border. One is currently deployed in El Paso. Another arrived in the Rio Grande Valley later Monday, he said.
“What you are seeing behind you is phase 3,” he said. The tactical border unit is comprised of 450 personnel who are being deployed to El Paso and to the RGV. The same operation will occur again with over 200 personnel leaving for the RGV Tuesday, he said, completing phase 3 of the operation.
This is in addition to Texas having already deployed 10,000 National Guard troops and 1,200 Texas DPS troopers to the border.
Suelzer also said he “had the honor of eating dinner with these troops last night. I can tell you the morale is high among the troops and their dedication to the state of Texas is inspirational.”
Despite Texas troops effectively blocking illegal entry between ports of entry south of El Paso, the city declared a state of emergency after thousands arrived at ports of entry believing the border is open and were released into the community by Border Patrol agents. With no money and no means for transportation or plans, people from all over the world have taken over and set up tents on sidewalks downtown and in surrounding areas.
In the RGV in Brownsville, guardsmen last week shut down a major crossing between ports of entry, Abbott said. The same tactic will be deployed elsewhere where troops will use aircraft, boats, night vision equipment, and riot gear “to prepare for anything they may encounter as they are protecting and securing our border,” he said.
Their efforts are different than the 1,500 military personnel deployed by the Biden administration tasked with assisting Border Patrol agents with processing foreign nationals into the U.S.
“They’re doing paperwork,” Abbott said. “They’re not actually going to be on the border to secure the border. The goal of the president is not to stop the people from coming across the border illegally. Our job and what we’re focused on, is trying to stop the people coming across illegally.”
The governor said there wouldn’t be any “entanglement” between Texas troops and those the president deployed “because the president is not going to have his troops down there trying to secure the border.”
“Texas has the ability to secure the border,” Abbott said in response to a reporter inquiry. “If we were acting in isolation, we would have secured the border. We are doing everything possible to try and stop people from crossing the border. At the very same time the president of the United States is putting out the welcome mat. The cartels know it’s the federal government that controls the immigration process. The cartels are working in collaboration with President Biden and the federal government to facilitate that illegals cross the border.”
Referring to Texas, he said, “We are being overrun by our own federal government. Texas is being undermined by our own federal government and our efforts to secure our border. It’s only Joe Biden and his open border policies that’s hindered out ability to secure the border.”