Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday authorized the Texas National Guard to arrest people who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border and violate state law.
The National Guard also is helping with the early stages of constructing border barriers and a border wall.
"The Texas National Guard is playing an unprecedented role to secure the border because of the unprecedented refusal of the federal government to fulfill its obligations under federal law,” the Texas Republican governor said Tuesday in a release.
Abbott last month ordered National Guard members to assist the Texas Department of Public Safety in arresting illegal immigrants who break state laws.
"To respond to this disaster and secure the rule of law at our Southern border, more manpower is needed," Abbott wrote in a letter sent to Major Gen. Tracy R. Norris of the Texas Military Department, The Texas Tribune reported July 27.
"DPS needs help in arresting those who are violating state law. … I hereby order that the Texas National Guard assist DPS in enforcing Texas law by arresting lawbreakers at the border."
The governor named border security funding as a priority for the current state legislative special session. During a call with border sheriffs and county judges on Saturday, Abbott urged the officials to voices their opinions to the House Appropriations Committee during a hearing this week on the urgent need for additional funding to secure the border.
"I am grateful for the border sheriffs and county judges who are partnering with the State of Texas to crack down on crimes along the border and keep our communities safe," Abbott said. "We have made great progress to address this crisis, but more funding is needed to bolster our border security efforts which is why I am urging border sheriffs and county judges to testify in front of the House Appropriations Committee next week on the need for additional funding.
"Due to the Biden Administration's inaction on the border crisis, our partnership with these local leaders is more important than ever as we step up to mitigate the rise in illegal border crossings and prevent the smuggling of drugs, weapons, and people into our state."
DPS has made more than 4,600 arrests or charges including criminal mischief and criminal trespass since Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in March.
The governor's initiative also has led to the confiscation of drugs and illegal firearms — including more than 700 pounds of cocaine, 127 pounds of deadly fentanyl, 8,500 pounds of cannabis, and more than 270 firearms.
More than 212,000 people attempted to illegally cross Texas' southern border in July — the largest monthly total since 2000.
In July 2020, there were just 40,929 encounters at the border.
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