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Pentagon: Texas National Guard Will Continue Border Mission Assisting With Migrants

Gov. Greg Abbott briefs National Guard troops in Weslaco in April 2018.
Carson Frame / TPR News
Gov. Greg Abbott briefs National Guard troops in Weslaco in April 2018.

Federal officials have extended the deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops Gov. Greg Abbott sent to the southern border to help with an influx of migrants.

Abbott deployed the troops over the summer after more than 144,000 migrants crossed the southwest border in May, straining federal holding facilities and legal resources. He described it as a “short-term mission” that would last until Sept. 30. 

“The crisis at our southern border is unlike anything we’ve witnessed before and has put an enormous strain on the existing resources we have in place," Abbott said. 

"With the deployment of these troops, we are taking action to confront the crisis at the border and keep potentially dangerous criminals and illegal activity out of our communities. By working together with our federal partners, we will continue to pursue a strong and comprehensive strategy to secure our border."

A release from the Texas Military Department at the time clarified that the Guard would serve in a Title 32 U.S. code status, meaning their mission would be federally funded and under Abbott’s control. 

The Department of Homeland Security has established holding facilities in Donna and Tornillo, near El Paso, for single migrant adults. Some of the Texas National Guard troops were tasked with providing staffing support at those holding facilities, while others were sent to ports of entry to provide security and facilitate commercial traffic flows. 

Neither the governor’s office nor the Texas Military Department released details about the troops' specific duties, citing security concerns. 

This week, the Pentagon approved an extension of their activities through Nov. 15.

The Texas National Guard has supported various state and federal operations along the border since 2006.Carson Frame can be reached atCarson@TPR.organd on Twitter at@carson_frame.


Copyright 2019 Texas Public Radio

Carson graduated from the University of Southern Florida in 2011 with a B.A. in English and International Studies, and earned a Master's degree in Journalism from New York University in 2017. Prior to coming to San Antonio, she worked as a reporter for the WMNF 88.5 FM Evening News in 2008. Since then, she's written for Ms. Magazine, Chronogram, Souciant, and Bedford+Bowery, among others. Carson has also done audio work for the podcasts Death, Sex & Money (WNYC) and Memory Motel (Listening Booth Media).