State of Texas to Pull Back National Guard from Border

Breitbart — The State of Texas is set to pull back the Texas National Guard from the Mexican border with claims of replacing them with state troopers and technology.

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst announced the move on Wednesday. Addressing the media in a press conference at the Texas Capitol, Dewhurst said while the surge under Operation Strong Safety had been successful, the state needed to make sure that border security operations continued without interruption through the next Legislative Session, and expand to better cover the entire Texas border. This would necessitate drawing down the Texas National Guard and shifting their responsibilities to more cost-effective Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers, local law enforcement, technology, and, eventually, he hoped, the federal government would increase the U.S. Border Patrol presence on the border as well.

Approximately 1,000 National Guard troops are scheduled to leave the border in the Spring, and this funding plan will replace them with DPS. Dewhurst acknowledged that this was at least in part a financial consideration, as the National Guard personnel are more expensive on a per capita basis than DPS. The Army Times reported that Governor-elect Greg Abbott’s border plan involved sending an additional 500 DPS officers to the border, and this new funding plan could help cover the costs for that.

“I feel strongly that the federal government has an obligation to protect its citizens, and part of that job is to secure the borders,” said Dewhurst. But when the federal government fails, “a state has not only the right but it has the obligation to act independently of the federal government, in this case to secure the border.”

Dewhurst said that border security has long been a concern of his. In 2006, after he met with Texas’ Congressional delegation, he realized that “there was little chance” of the Obama administration adequately increasing the number of Border Patrol agents in a way that could actually secure the border. Texas had no choice but to act to protect its citizens.

Dewhurst described how the state had increased funding for DPS and local law enforcement efforts, spending over $800 million since 2007 on these border security efforts. The first surge under Operation Strong Safety began in September and October of 2013, deploying additional DPS officers, adding new technology like advanced infrared cameras on planes and armored gun boats.

After the crisis last summer with unaccompanied alien children (UACs) arriving mostly from Central America — a story that was broken by Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby — an additional surge was ordered in June. The Texas National Guard was deployed on the border as a “force multiplier” with DPS, and their efforts resulted in about 6,600 apprehensions in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, an area that represents 56 percent of all the criminal activity on the border. According to Dewhurst, during the last week of October, the number of apprehensions dropped to 1,600, a 77 percent decrease. DPS also seized over 200,000 pounds of marijuana, with a street value of over $100,000, that the cartels were attempting to bring into the country.

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