Sun, Feb 11, 2024 12:45 PM
By Bethany Blankley, The Center Square
Within days of joining Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and a coalition of Republican governors in Eagle Pass, Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry and state legislative leaders announced their united agreement to fund and send troops to Texas.
While in Texas, after meeting with Abbott, Landry immediately called legislative leaders to express the need to fund sending Louisiana National Guard troops to Texas. On Thursday, they delivered, announcing in a news conference that they were allocating $3 million to send 150 troops to Texas to support Abbott’s border security mission, Operation Lone Star.
At the event, Abbott explained how combined state border security efforts have successfully blocked illegal entry, and they were expanding their efforts to other areas.
“Half of the governors of the United States have joined with Texas in our cause to make sure states should do everything possible to secure our border,” Abbott said. “We are here to send a loud and clear message that we are banding together to fight to ensure that we will be able to maintain our constitutional guarantee that states will be able to defend against any type of imminent danger or an invasion that has been threatened by Joe Biden and his abject refusal to enforce the immigration laws of the United States of America.”
Just days later, Landry shared some insight from his briefing with Abbott, who “explained to us that 30,000 pounds of fentanyl was seized at the border in Texas. That's enough to kill almost everyone in the country. So, this is an absolute emergency.”
President Joe Biden’s “open border policies,” Landry said, have created a fentanyl crisis that is killing 125,000 Americans every year.
Landry also described what he saw in Eagle Pass, referring to two bridges and two ports of entry, enabling people to legally cross from Mexico to Texas, which are manned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in Eagle Pass.
“But what the president has done is basically dog whistle to those who have tried to come into the country illegally and say, ‘listen if you just swim across the Rio Grande, we'll let you in that way.’ Then all of a sudden you start to see 5,000 and 6,000 people having to swim across the Rio Grande to get into the country illegally,” Landry said. This puts pressure on Texas, “which eventually puts pressure on Louisiana and other states around the country.”
“Texas has always been a great neighbor to us,” Landry continued. “If they're calling, we should heed that call,” adding that legislative leaders “all agreed that we should do that.”
“Because the federal government will not act, because the president will not do his job, because Congress refuses to put in place a solid immigration plan that protects this country and allows people to come in and out of this country the way it has been done since the beginning, then the states are going to act,” he said.
A former active-duty National Guardsman, Landry said the money was well spent and “serves a purpose in helping Louisiana” to provide training and troop readiness. He also said Louisiana cities were combating crime being committed by cartel-affiliated “gangs of undocumented people” and Louisianans are dying from fentanyl poisoning. Crimes “we can directly trace to a border that is wide open that is letting the cartel do as they please into this country.”
Louisiana’s legislative leaders agreeing to send troops to Texas, he said, “is one of the most proudest days I can even ever have imagined to see all these great men and women here who are dedicated to public safety and to the security not only of the state of Louisiana but of the nation.”
Brigadier General Michael Greer, director of the Louisiana Military Department, said troops will be supporting the Texas National Guard “in what they're doing at the border.” Troops are currently expanding and building concertina wire and other border barriers as well as building Texas’ own border wall, The Center Square has previously reported.
Louisiana troops will not detain any illegal border crossers they encounter, Greer said, but will refer them “to local law enforcement who have the responsibility to make those arrests or do whatever it is under Texas law.”
Troops will begin to be deployed next month in three 50-troop rotations for 90-day deployments.
In response to Abbott’s call for help, 25 Republican governors have pledged their support and committed to send National Guard troops to Texas. Troops from 14 states have already been serving in Texas. Many governors last week said they would soon be sending more troops.
Texas border czar Mike Banks told The Center Square their efforts are working. Compared to a year ago, “if you look at the number of illegal border crossings today, Texas counts for 30% of those crossings. The remaining 70% are crossing in Arizona, California, and New Mexico. Why? Because they're not putting up the resistance that Texas is.”
“As Texas gains control of an area,” Banks said, “we're going to maintain that area and we're going to expand. We're going to gain, maintain, expand. We're going to cut off illegal entry into the state of Texas.”