Texas Governor Greg Abbott told members of the state’s National Guard that their presence will strengthen border security and make a meaningful difference. The governor ordered 1,400 Texas National Guardsmen to the border in response to President Donald Trumps call for additional security measures.
“The security of our southern border is a top priority, and Texas has stepped up to answer the call,” Governor Abbott told the guardsmen in Weslaco, Texas. “The addition of National Guard troops to aid Customs and Border Patrol will serve to strengthen border security, and their presence will make a meaningful difference.”
The governor said the Texas National Guard has already responded by sending 762 guardsmen to the U.S.-Mexico Border region. He will be sending an additional 300 each week until the 1,400 person goal is reached.
“I thank the men and women of the Texas National Guard, as well as our federal partners at Customs and Border Patrol, for their service,” Abbott said, “and I applaud the Administration for their commitment to keeping our states and nation safe, and our border secure.”
During the governor’s trip to the border, he received a border security briefing from local Border Patrol and National Guard command staff.
President Trump’s call for troop deployments followed a report by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that revealed a 203 percent increase over the previous year in the apprehension of illegal border crossers during the month of March.
Border Patrol agents arrested nearly 38,000 in the month of March, an increase of more than 10,000 in a single month.
News that an MS-13 member from El Salvador had embedded himself with groups from the “migrant caravan” highlighted the need for more enhanced border security.
“We questioned the members of the group and confirmed they are part of the caravan of Central American’s who are reported to be traveling to the U.S.,” Border Patrol spokesman Justin Kallinger told Breitbart Texas.
Border Patrol officials said that the Salvadoran MS-13 gang member joined up with the group at a stash house in San Luis, Mexico, before crossing illegally with the group.
Agents identified the gang member as 18-year-old Herberth Geovani Argueta-Chavez. He told agents he was heading to the sanctuary city of Los Angeles.
“The bad people will think twice before crossing into this area,” Los Indios Police Chief Jose De La Rosa told KRGV ABC5. “We understand that they can’t do any arrest or anything else, just reporting and intelligence to the Border Patrol. But from there it will go to the local agencies that need the help.”
Border Patrol officials told Breitbart Texas that the guardsmen will fill support roles that will free up more agents to work on the line.
“With the National Guard assisting with our surveillance operations it will free up resources to patrol the border, thereby increasing the certainty of apprehension or seizure and put a dent in the bottom line (profits) of the criminal cartels that control all smuggling on our borders,” National Border Patrol Council officials said in a written statement.
The agents anticipate that National Guardsmen will perform duties that include monitoring border camera systems, conducting surveillance on “sky boxes” or other observation posts, monitoring border sensors, operating scope vehicles, and other activities to free up agents to stay on the front line of the border.
“By deploying the National Guard to take over these and other activities, it will free up law enforcement resources to patrol the border and make arrests,” the NBPC statement continues. “This action will increase the certainty of detection and apprehension.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, GAB, and Facebook.