Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Monday announced the deployment of a special border force that would target “hot spots” where migrants attempt to cross from Mexico into the U.S. illegally.
According to Abbott, members of the Tactical Texas Tactical Border Force, a new, specially trained National Guard unit, would be deployed.
At a news conference Monday, Abbott said the forces were being loaded into Black Hawk helicopters for deployment “to intercept, to repel, and to turn back migrants who are trying to enter Texas illegally.”
He added that a similar tactic had been successful in El Paso last December.
The Texas governor’s announcement comes as Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other agencies have been preparing for an expected influx of migrants when Title 42, the pandemic era health policy that allowed for expulsions of migrants at the border, ends on May 11 along with the Covid-19 national public health emergency.
It also occurred on the same day that police in Brownsville, Texas charged a local man with multiple counts of manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon after they say he plowed into a group of migrants waiting for a bus on Sunday, killing eight and injuring 10 others.
Brownsville Police Chief Felix Sauceda said during a Monday news conference, “We have a process in play” to address migrant safety in anticipation of a surge.
The Biden Administration is also sending an additional 1,500 active military troops to the border this week.
The White House has said the additional troops will handle administrative tasks so that CBP can focus on fieldwork and enforcement—unlike Texas’ “intercept [and] repel” special forces.
At his news conference Abbott also said he would continue to bus migrants to big, northern cities like Chicago and New York, and he’s working with state lawmakers to make it a felony to cross from Mexico into Texas illegally.