HOUSTON, Texas — President Obama is following the lead of Texas Governor Rick Perry by deploying more federalized troops from the Texas National Guard (TNG) to help Border Patrol Agents. Approximately 60-75 soldiers of the Texas National Guard were recently federalized under a Title 32 drug interdiction program and were deployed to the Rio-Grande Sector of the Texas/Mexico Border.
The role of the guardsmen is to stand guard in the portable watch towers along sections of the border. These troops are under the command and control of the federal government and the U.S. Border Patrol according to a source in the Texas Capitol. They ride in Border Patrol Vehicles, use Border Patrol equipment and are paid for by the federal government according to the source.
The guardsmen are being paid for by budgetary re-shuffling, that is moving funds from other states that have not spent all of their National Guard funds, to Texas. This is being done in order to supplement the border patrol resources which stretched thin because of the massive influx of unaccompanied minors and incomplete families made up mostly of women and children.
KXAN television reported that several guardsmen were seen Thursday afternoon manning an observation tower along the road leading to the Hidalgo International Bridge. This first batch of soldiers was specifically trained to man such observation towers in the area belonging to local law enforcement agencies and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, TNG Master Sergeant Ken Walker told KXAN. Walker is part of the federal Joint Counterdrug Task Force. He said they will be serving as extra eyes on the border and will be reporting suspicious activity to authorities.
These guardsmen will soon be joined by up to 1,000 additional members of the TNG who will be under the command and control of the Texas Department of Public Safety and Governor Perry. These troops have been undergoing training at Camp Swift and were briefed on Wednesday personally by Gov. Perry. They will departing Camp Swift soon to head to the border where they will work alongside DPS troopers to provide additional manpower to spot drug trafficking and human smuggling operations.
Bob Price is a staff writer and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.