Texas’ top three lawmakers have announced they’re sending 1,000 National Guard troops to the border.
At a Friday news conference, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen said the decision to mobilize the National Guard was taken because Congress has yet to come up with a solution to deal with the surge of migrants entering the country.
“We have a responsibility to the people of Texas and shame on Congress if they won’t do their jobs,” Abbott told reporters. “My message to them is Congress is a group of reprobates for not addressing a crisis on our border and we’re not going to stand idly by.”
The Texas Democratic Party wasn’t buying it.
“Deploying 1000 new troops to the border is reckless, unnecessary, and further serves to harm our relationships with our strategic allies in Central America and Mexico,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the Texas Democratic Party in a statement. “When Republicans in Congress had the chance to work with Democrats and pass comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform in 2013, it was John Cornyn who put ‘poison pills’ in the bill to stop it.”
Sen. John Cornyn’s office did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Lt. Gov. Patrick, responding to news reports that found hundreds of migrant children were facing inhumane conditions, like a lack of food, water and medical attention, pointed the finger to Congress and said lawmakers failed to provide enough funding to federal agencies managing the camps.
“Let’s remember the real tragedy at the border,” added Hinojosa. “Children are getting separated from their parents.”
In May, more than 144,00 migrants, many seeking asylum, were arrested or surrendered to border agents, the highest number in more than a decade. It follows a year-long trend of mostly Central American migrants fleeing from violence, poverty and the effects of climate change.
Last month, hundreds of migrants from Central Africa also began arriving in San Antonio after fleeing from violence in their home countries.
Texas’ military-led answer to the crisis at the southern border comes days after Trump announced he would begin rounding up and deporting millions of undocumented immigrants starting next week.