Come November, the deployment of 1,000 National Guard units in Texas is scheduled to come to an end.
In fact, the deployment was scheduled to end in October, but the deadline for their departure was extended by several weeks at the request of Trump’s secretary of defense.
Considering Trump has his border wall money funneled from defense dollars; considering he has his funding for border security from a $4.6 billion deal in Congress that gave hundreds of millions of dollars to agencies like ICE and Customs and Border Patrol; considering border apprehensions have dropped for the fourth month in a row– what exactly is the National Guard still doing in South Texas?
Gov. Greg Abbott first began sending National Guard to the border in April 2018 under the pretext of an imminent invasion by tired asylum seekers. He sent an additional 1,000 troops to the border in June. Since then, his administration has fended off public information requests from reporters seeking to put a timeline and scope of the military force’s mission.
The deployment of the National Guard last year, which happened to coincide with a tough re-election year for many Texas Republicans, is another step in militarizing the Texas border and applying military solutions to what is ultimately a humanitarian issue. “Having the military here is a disaster, or more likely a tragedy,” a McAllen landowner whose property will be impacted by the border wall told The Intercept last November. “They are trained for war. They shouldn’t be here. But it’s not their fault.”
Worse, Trump’s rhetoric has dangerously framed the humanitarian crisis experienced by refugees as some sort of full out war, which could end up costing lives. “They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back … I told them, consider it a rifle,” Trump said last year.
Abbott owes South Texans an answer as to when his political stunt will finally come to an end.
Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org