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Texas Gov. Abbott announces border camps for National Guard troops

Texas' governor is doubling down on his immigration strategy along the Rio Grande, announcing the state will build housing for the National Guard.
Texas Gov. Abbott announces border camps for National Guard troops
Posted at 8:05 PM, Feb 16, 2024

Federal law says the U.S. government controls immigration, but recently the state of Texas has argued that the feds have failed in their mission — and that the state now has the right to defend itself.

Gov. Abbott has already spent billions temporarily deploying National Guard and state police along the Rio Grande in an effort called Operation Lone Star.

Housing soldiers is a major component of the governor's new plan.

"There will be a reduction of the costs that is being incurred already, in all these hotel rooms and other locations where the guard are staying is going to be more expensive per person than what it's going to cost to house the guard here," said Abbott.

Texas is home to some of the most aggressive policies to curb illegal border crossings — powers normally reserved for federal agents.

By March 5, a state law could allow all local police to arrest anyone suspected of crossing from Mexico illegally into the U.S. The Biden administration is waiting for a judge to rule on whether that law can take effect.

The Biden administration says it's unconstitutional and tramples on authority the Supreme Court has affirmed belongs to the federal government. But Abbott and his team think their strategy works. 

"There was a single day when there was over 6,000 people that came through that border right there in Eagle Pass. And to see those numbers decrease the way they have at the significant number they have to, where we've gone to 1% of what was crossing a month and a half, two months ago — I think it's phenomenal," said Mike Banks, special adviser to the Texas border security czar.

In addition to state National Guard units at the border, Abbott's program has spent billions on building walls, barriers, deploying concertina wire, busing migrants to Democrat-run states and detaining migrants on state trespassing charges.

Officials say they expect the first 300 National Guard soldiers to stay on the post in April — with the construction effort ramping up quickly before the summer.

SEE MORE: Biden urges bipartisan action to resolve 'crisis' at the border

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