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Abbott: Texas National Guard continuing to ‘hold the line’ at the border

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(The Center Square) – While much attention has focused on Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, Texas, National Guardsmen are continuing to deploy border security efforts across Texas’ 1,254 shared border with Mexico.

Boat and brush teams are patrolling along the Rio Grande River, also working with aerial assets to ensure “the safety of Texas and the nation from transnational criminal behavior,” the Texas Military Department said in a video highlighting ongoing operations.

Gov. Greg Abbott directed Texas National Guard soldiers “to hold the line,” including erecting additional concertina and razor wire barriers along the river to block illegal entry.

“The Texas National Guard will continue to respond to hotspots and changing circumstances along the border providing a ready relevant force precisely where needed and in conjunction with state and local law enforcement partners to hold the line along the Texas and Mexico border,” the Texas Military Department says.

“The Guard took complete control of the park under the Governor’s emergency declaration in early January. The strategy to control the park was a multi-faceted approach including personnel, equipment and capabilities brought to bear by Joint Task Force Lone Star.”

Illegal entries went from more than 3,000 a day to roughly three a day, Abbott said last week, adding that they were going to expand the success in Shelby Park to other areas of the state.

Their efforts have been successful, Texas border czar Mike Banks said, because of a method Texas is employing that he learned as Border Patrol agent of 23 years. Texas is employing tactics Border Patrol agents should be employing but aren’t because of orders they’ve received from the Biden administration, he and others say.

Over the past year, Banks has been working with the Texas Military Department to identify where high traffic is directed by cartels. They then erect barriers to block it and work with Texas Department of Public Safety troopers to interdict.

“As Texas gains control of an area, 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,” Banks told The Center Square.

“Anywhere where we see high traffic coming across, we’re going to take what we call a PDI position: position, deter and interdict.

“We’re going to do everything we can to prevent them from crossing. And if they’re going to cross, to interdict them, make that arrest and then charge them either with criminal trespass or whatever legal state law they violated and they will serve time.”

Since Abbott launched the states’ border security mission, Operation Lone Star, law enforcement officers have apprehended over 498,300 illegal foreign nationals and made more than 39,200 criminal arrests, with more than 35,400 felony charges reported. They’ve also seized more than 458 million lethal doses of fentanyl, enough to kill everyone in the United States and Canada.

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