Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has ordered the deployment of 50 Indiana National Guard troops to Texas to assist efforts led by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to block illegal border crossings from Mexico.
With this troop deployment, Mr. Holcomb will become one of 13 governors using his state’s troops to assist Texas in border security missions.
Mr. Abbott began his state-level border security mission, dubbed “Operation Lone Star” in March of 2021, in response to a marked rise in illegal border crossings and drug and human smuggling operations at the border under President Joe Biden’s administration. Various Republican governors have sent resources to assist Mr. Abbott in this effort since 2021.
“Operation Lone Star” has been directly opposed at times by the Biden administration.
The Biden administration has specifically taken issue in the past with a floating barrier Mr. Abbott ordered deployed in the Rio Grande, to prevent people from crossing the waterway from Mexico into Texas, and has won an injunction to have the floating barrier removed.
Mr. Holcomb was one of 25 Republican governors who signed onto a statement declaring the Biden administration has “completely vulnerable to unprecedented illegal immigration pouring across the Southern border” and expressing solidarity with Mr. Abbott.
“Federal negligence enforcing immigration law and the failure to secure our country’s border jeopardizes national and economic security, affecting every state, including Indiana,” Mr. Holcomb said upon announcing his troop deployment on Friday. “We’ve worked too hard in Indiana attacking the drug epidemic for more Hoosier lives to be put at risk by a constant supply of killer drugs spilled over an open U.S. border. The only way to resolve this is to stop the historically high flow of illegal immigrants crossing the border.”
Indiana has supported past National Guard deployments to the U.S. southern border. According to Mr. Holcomb’s press statement, 300 Indiana National Guard troops have deployed to the U.S. southern border since October 2020. Indiana National Guard troops were deployed at the southern border as recently as October 2023.
Democrats Seek to Cut Off National Guard Border Deployments
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Jan. 16, prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling, that Mr. Abbott’s border efforts as “political stunts” and has said this Texas-led move to stop illegal immigration “is causing harm” and “not fixing the problem.”
Some Democrats have urged the Biden administration to federalize National Guard troops in order to block off a key source of manpower for Mr. Abbott’s state-level border security mission.
“Governor Greg Abbott is using the Texas National Guard to obstruct and create chaos at the border. If Abbott is defying yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, [President Biden] needs to establish sole federal control of the Texas National Guard now,” Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) wrote on Jan. 23.
Governors typically control their state’s National Guard troops, but the president of the United States may call National Guard troops into federal service to respond to an invasion or rebellion, or if he declares some other emergency.
Thus far, the Biden administration has not taken steps to federalize the National Guard forces to subvert Mr. Abbott’s efforts at the border.