Gov. Abbott Boosting Texas National Guard Deployment Along Border - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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Gov. Abbott Boosting Texas National Guard Deployment Along Border

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    Abbott Quadruples Texas National Guard Deployed Along Border

    Governor Greg Abbott says he will boost the number of Texas National Guard troops to the Mexico border to at least 1,000, up from 250. (Published Monday, April 9, 2018)

    Governor Greg Abbott says he will boost the number of Texas National Guard troops along the Mexico border to at least 1,000, up from 250.

    Governor Abbott told San Antonio radio station KTSA on Monday that the state will send around 300 Guard members to the border every week, until their numbers reach at least 1,000.

    The Texas National Guard said Friday that it would send an initial deployment of 250 members.

    The Texas troops will be joining 340 national guardsmen from Arizona and 330 from New Mexico, all answering a call from President Trump. Their mission is to help fight illegal immigration and drug trafficking.

    "Until we can have a wall and proper security, we're going to be guarding our border with the military," the President said on Friday.

    But on a visit to Fort Worth Monday night, former Mexican President Vicente Fox had harsh words for the decision.

    "It's stupid, it's offensive to move the army to the border with Mexico," Mr. Fox said. "When we have been friends, when we have respected each other, when we're partners through NAFTA and when we can build a bright future for north america together."

    Governor Abbott said he wanted to "downplay the notion" that the National Guard would be "trying to take on anybody that's coming across the border."

    The Governor said some Guard members may be armed if they are posted to locations where they could face danger but they cannot make arrests.

    "I definitely got to see that first-hand in 2006 when I was deployed," said Texas National Guardsman Salvador McCaffrey.

    Specialist McCaffrey spent a year on the border as an intelligence analyst, gathering information for border patrol agents in the field.

    "It was actually a very well-coordinated mission with the border patrol and we were just there as a support element more than anything," McCaffrey said. 

    Specialist McCaffrey was born in Mexico but adopted in North Texas at just three years old.

    Now he stands ready to move south in defense, once again.

    "You're going in and you're helping your nation," Specialist McCaffrey said.

    Governor Abbott said there's no fixed date on their deployment and that "we may be in this for the long haul."

    The border patrol said it caught around 50,000 people trying to cross in March. That's more than three times the number in March of last year.

    But the numbers are still well below the number of illegal crossings when Presidents Bush and Obama deployed the National Guard to the border.