Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is sending 100 National Guard troops to Texas to help secure the southern border.
Lee made the announcement late Wednesday night, two days after he and eight other Republican governors met with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in Austin, Texas, to discuss how states can support Operation Lone Star and work together to secure the southern border.
“America continues to face an unprecedented border crisis that threatens our nation’s security and the safety of Tennesseans,” Lee said in a statement Wednesday. “The federal government owes Americans a plan to secure our country, and in the meantime, states continue to answer this important call to service.”
The 100 troops will be deployed to the southern border at the end of May to patrol the border, provide additional security, assist with placing more barriers on the border, removing debris, and staffing outpost operations, according to Lee’s office.
“Tennessee has a rich history of helping Texas in times of need, and this is welcome news for my great state,” Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, told The Daily Signal.
“Because of the abysmal failures of the Biden administration, Texas has taken matters into its own hands to protect our southern border from a virtual invasion,” Weber said. “We thank the troops from the Volunteer State for stepping up to aid Texas and the entire nation, as this does not just affect one state, or four border states, but all of America. We must continue to combat the unprecedented crisis at our southern border since the White House won’t.”
In addition to Lee, Govs. Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas, Brad Little of Idaho, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Tate Reeves of Mississippi, Jim Pillen of Nebraska, Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, Henry McMaster of South Carolina, and Glenn Youngkin of Virginia attended the border security briefing with Abbott on Monday.
During the meeting, Abbott explained to the governors how Texas’ border security plan, dubbed Operation Lone Star is working to deter the illegal entry of migrants at the southern border. The meeting was held about a week after Abbott sent a letter to fellow governors asking them to help Texas secure the border.
“In the federal government’s absence, we, as Governors, must band together to combat President Biden’s ongoing border crisis and ensure the safety and security that all Americans deserve,” Abbott wrote.
The Texas governor applauded Idaho and Florida for already having sent border security resources and personnel to the Lone Star State to help secure the border and invited more governors to join in the “mission to defend our national sovereignty and territorial integrity and send all available law enforcement personnel and resources to the Texas-Mexico border to serve alongside our thousands of Texas National Guard soldiers and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers.”
Lee’s announcement about sending troops to the southern border followed just hours after Pillen announced the authorization of sending 10 Nebraska state troopers to Texas to “help stop the influx of illegal immigration at our southern border.”
Abbott’s letter and meeting with the governors comes shortly after the end of Title 42 on May 11. Title 42 was a public health measure set in place during the COVID-19 pandemic and allowed the Border Patrol to quickly expel some illegal aliens from the southern border. Concerns remain that without Title 42, the Border Patrol has little recourse to prevent illegal aliens from entering the country.
Since the start of the Biden administration, Customs and Border Protection reports encountering more than 5.5 million illegal aliens at the southern border. Since fiscal year 2023 began on Oct. 1, CBP has encountered more than 1.4 million illegal aliens, about triple the number encountered at the southern border during fiscal year 2020.
CBP has seized a record 17,000 pounds of fentanyl at the southern border in fiscal 2023, more than triple the total amount seized in 2022.
“I applaud Governor Lee’s decision to deploy troops to the southern border,” Rep. Diana Harshbarger, R-Tenn., told The Daily Signal. “The Biden administration’s failure to secure our border has engulfed our nation in a crisis that is being felt in each and every state. As unvetted illegals and dangerous drugs pour into our country and overwhelm authorities, it is critical that action is taken to protect Tennessee communities.”
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