April 10 (UPI) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is sending as many as 1,400 National Guard troops to the Mexico border as part of President Donald Trump’s plan to ramp up immigration security — seven times more than he pledged last week.
Abbott said about 300 troops per week will be deployed in coming weeks to help secure Texas’ approximately 1,000-mile border.
Trump last week authorized the National Guard, with governors’ approvals, to enhance U.S. border patrol security. Trump said there is a “drastic surge of illegal activity on the southern border” that threatens national security — and that between 2,000 and 4,000 troops will eventually be sent there.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey also increased his troop numbers to nearly 350, up from the 225 he initially pledged.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said she will deploy more than 80 troops this week of the 250 being sent from her state, and the governors of South Carolina and Arkansas pledged additional troops, if needed.
With the federal government paying the bill for the deployments, Texas will save almost $1 million per month that had been spent on “Operation Secure Texas,” a mission ordered two years ago by Abbott that deployed 100 Texas Guard troops to the border for immigration security.
Abbott said he wanted to downplay speculation that “our National Guard is showing up with military bayonets trying to take on anybody that’s coming across the border, because that is not their role.”
Ducey said the deployments are not partisan.
“You show me somebody who is for drug cartels or human trafficking or this ammunition that’s coming over a wide-open and unprotected border here,” he said.
California Gov. Jerry Brown, who has repeatedly fought with Trump over immigration policy, has not announced whether troops from his state will go to the border as part of the president’s plan.