Three governors have deployed troops from their National Guard to the United States-Mexico border to assist border patrol efforts amid rising illegal immigration.
Their deployments come at the request of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who called for additional support for his Operation Lone Star on May 16.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the border was facing an “ongoing national security crisis” and cited the end of Title 42.
“At the request of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, I have directed the deployment of South Carolina National Guard troops to Texas to help hold the line on the Southern border,” said McMaster in a May 31 press release. “The safety and security of South Carolinians require that we stop the drug cartels, criminals, and terrorists from entering our country to peddle their poison.”
McMaster’s office said the details of the plan, including the number of troops, are still being finalized. The aim is to deploy the guardsmen by July 1.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said he will send 50 members of his state’s National Guard to assist with OLS at Abbott’s request.
“I have approved the deployment of members of the West Virginia National Guard to help secure our border, reduce the flood of fentanyl, and combat the human trafficking crisis,” the governor said in his statement. “Several governors are doing this because the situation on our Southern Border is terrible, and I want to make sure we’re doing our part.”
“I’m very proud to support our friends to the south,” Justice continued. “I know our National Guard will do incredible work, and we’ll wish them Godspeed to get home safe and sound. I thank them all for their incredible bravery and for stepping up yet again to answer the call.”
His May 31 announcement noted that the West Virginia National Guard will work with Texas National Guard and Texas law enforcement partners to “detect, deter, and interdict transnational criminal activity between points of entry.”
Justice said assisting Texas with its efforts to secure the border and stop illegal activity is necessary to ensure West Virginians’ safety.
“If you don’t think there’s a serious problem at the border that affects West Virginia, you’re out of your mind. I mean, the flow of fentanyl for one thing is just absolutely at an epidemic stage,” he told West Virginia Public Broadcasting.
The deployment consists of volunteers who will leave for Texas in August.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin noted his state is a founding member of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact and pledged to send 100 National Guardsmen to assist Texas. His office noted that an average of five Virginians die per day from fentanyl.
“The ongoing border crisis facing our nation has turned every state into a border state,” said Youngkin in a press release on May 31. “As leadership solutions at the federal level fall short, states are answering the call to secure our southern border, reduce the flow of fentanyl, combat human trafficking and address the humanitarian crisis.”
“Given the intensive resource demands on Texas, the dangers posed by the fentanyl crisis, and impact of the border crisis on criminal activity to the Commonwealth, Virginia will do its part to assist the State of Texas’ efforts with the coordinated deployment of Virginia National Guard soldiers to assist in key aspects of their mission,” he added.
In total, nine governors will send National Guardsmen to the southern border.
In his request, Abbott noted Texas has spent $4.5 billion on border security operations since 2021.
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