Criminal JusticeElections 2022Immigration & BorderIssuesAbbott Directs Texas National Guard to Help Department of Public Safety With Border Arrests

Abbott wrote in a letter to the Texas Military Department that “more manpower is needed” to apprehend illegal aliens breaking state law.
July 27, 2021
Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas National Guard to assist the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) with enforcement of state laws near the southern border. The governor issued the instructions in a letter on Tuesday to Major General Tracy R. Norris of the Texas Military Department.

“To respond to this disaster and secure the rule of law at our Southern border, more manpower is needed — in addition to the troopers from [DPS] and soldiers from the Texas National Guard I have already deployed there — and DPS needs help in arresting those who are violating state law,” Abbott wrote.

The governor invoked his authority under Article IV, Section 7 of the Texas Constitution, which makes him the “Commander-in-Chief of the military forces of the State” and grants him the authority to “call forth the militia to execute the laws of the State, to suppress insurrections, and to repel invasions.”

Abbott also referenced the proclamation he issued on Memorial Day that declared states of disaster in a number of counties along the southern border due to illegal immigration, a proclamation he later modified to add and remove certain counties.

“By virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, I hereby order that the Texas National Guard assist DPS in enforcing Texas law by arresting lawbreakers at the border,” Abbott commanded.

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The governor’s letter to Norris is the latest in a series of moves Abbott and other Texas elected officials have made this year to fight illegal immigration on the state level amid record-setting levels of illegal crossings. Abbott and many Republicans have accused the Biden administration of abrogating its responsibility to keep the border secure.

The state’s law enforcement efforts against illegal immigration, known as Operation Lone Star, resulted in the arrest of 48,000 illegal aliens and 2,000 individuals accused of criminal acts from when the operation was launched on March 4 through July 8.

Abbott has faced staunch criticism from Republican primary contender Don Huffines, who believes Abbott’s response to the border crisis has been too little too late. Humorist Chad Prather and former Republican Party of Texas Chairman Allen West are also challenging Abbott in the GOP primary.

A copy of Abbott’s letter to Norris can be found below.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."