Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, ordered the National Guard to help local law enforcement with arresting migrants who break state laws amid the current border crisis, The Texas Tribune reported.
Abbott requested more "manpower" to patrol the border in a letter to Major Gen. Tracy R. Norris, adjutant general of the Texas National Guard. National guardsmen deployed under state orders legally are allowed to conduct law enforcement, The Hill said.
"To respond to this disaster and secure the rule of law at our Southern border, more manpower is needed — in addition to the troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and soldiers from the Texas National Guard I have already deployed there — and DPS needs help in arresting those who are violating state law," Abbott wrote.
"I hereby order that the Texas National Guard assist DPS in enforcing Texas law by arresting lawbreakers at the border."
The move is Abbott’s latest in his attempts to control what he has declared a state disaster in several border counties due to the Biden administration’s failure to stop the surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that 188,829 migrants attempted to cross the border in June.
Abbott last month declared a state disaster and ordered DPS to start arresting migrants on state offenses and holding them in state jails.
Local officials in some Texas counties said the increase in migrants has stretched their scarce resources, the Tribune reported, and a presence of drug and human smugglers has overwhelmed their small law enforcement departments.
During a Sunday interview on Fox News, Abbott said Texas isn’t "playing games anymore" at the southern border, and is using its own resources to curb the entry of migrants there.
As of Monday, 30 immigrants arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass were being held at the Briscoe Unit in Dilley, a state prison being converted into a jail to hold arrested immigrants.
Some Texas counties are refusing to take part in Abbott's initiative to arrest and jail migrants accused of violating state laws, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Counties with the most illegal traffic have declined to participate in the state’s plans, with state troopers instead being dispatched into smaller communities upriver on the Rio Grande, WSJ reported.
Officials in several border counties that opted out of the disaster declaration told WSJ one issue was whether such arrests would be legal.
The governor, who joined former President Donald Trump on a visit to the border, has pledged to build a state-funded border wall to slow migration.
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