Texas extends National Guard order amid crossing spike
Austin, Texas — Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday extended the deployment of National Guard troops at the Mexico border due to a spike in the number of unaccompanied minors entering the country.
The order comes in the wake of U.S. Border Patrol figures that show more than 10,000 unaccompanied children crossed into the U.S. in October and November. That is double the number of crossings in the same two months last year.
The uptick has already prompted Border Patrol to open two shelters in Texas and one in California.
“Texas will not sit idle in the face of this challenge,” Abbott said. “We will not be victimized as a state by a federal government’s apathetic response to border security.”
Former Gov. Rick Perry first deployed National Guard troops to the border in 2014. He sent more than 1,000, though only a few hundred have remained in recent months.
Abbott, who took office in January and approved a record $800 million in state border security spending earlier this year, did not indicate how long the deployment would last. Abbott has previously declined to say when the National Guard mission could end, saying he did not want troops to leave until Texas trained hundreds of new law enforcement officers to replace them.
The Obama administration is hoping to avoid a repeat of the crisis it saw in the summer of 2014, when tens of thousands of children and families poured over the border. Border Patrol holding areas became overcrowded, with children sleeping on concrete floors covered by aluminum foil-like blankets.
The surge in children arriving without parents overwhelmed the U.S. government and the White House labeled it “a humanitarian crisis.”