Governor Abbott Deploys New Texas Tactical Border Force

May 8, 2023 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today announced the deployment of the new Texas Tactical Border Force to the Texas-Mexico border to respond to the growing border crisis at Austin Bergstrom International Airport in Austin. With President Joe Biden ending Title 42 this Thursday, the Governor is enhancing Texas’ unprecedented border security efforts with the tactical deployment of hundreds of Texas National Guard soldiers to join the thousands already deployed as part of Operation Lone Star and serve on the new border force for targeted responses as the nation braces for an expected spike in illegal immigration.

“With the ending of Title 42 on Thursday, President Biden is laying down the welcome mat to people across the entire world, but Texas is deploying our new Texas Tactical Border Force,” said Governor Abbott. “The Texas National Guard is loading Blackhawk helicopters and C-130s and deploying specially trained soldiers for the Texas Tactical Border Force, who will be deployed to hotspots all along the border to help intercept and repel large groups of migrants trying to enter Texas illegally. The Texas Tactical Border Force will bolster our Operation Lone Star efforts to secure the Texas border amid the chaos caused by President Biden’s elimination of Title 42.”

The Governor was joined at the press conference by Texas Border Czar Mike Banks, Adjutant General of the Texas Military Department Major General Thomas Suelzer, and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw. 

“I have traveled along the border and seen firsthand the impact President Biden’s border crisis is having on Texas communities,” said Border Czar Banks. “Governor Abbott is doing the job that President Biden and the federal government is refusing to do, and Texas will continue to work relentlessly to defend our border. Today’s deployment of the Texas Tactical Border Force will allow us to shift resources to needed locations effectively and efficiently. I will continue to work with Governor Abbott as we continue to protect Texas against this unprecedented influx of illegal immigration.”

“The Texas National Guard is executing a planned, multi-phased response in preparation for the end of Title 42,” said Major General Suelzer. “We have shifted troops to hotspots, added additional drone teams, and increased miles of barrier along the border. The dedication of these troops to the State of Texas is inspirational.”

“The Texas Department of Public Safety is increasing resources at the border, and we are deploying hundreds of troopers around the state, including enhanced tactical teams and field force operations teams, to hold the line,” said Director McCraw. “There are 29 places you can cross into the U.S. legally, and our job is to ensure we hold that line and keep those the only places these people can cross.”

The deployment of the new Texas Tactical Border Force represents the third phase of the Governor’s increased border security mission as President Biden ends Title 42. Following today’s press conference, two units of hundreds of trained service members departed for the border to El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley. The same operation is planned tomorrow, with two more elements of hundreds of soldiers deploying to the Rio Grande Valley.

The first completed phase began last month with the shifting of Texas National Guard soldiers and assets, such as drone teams and razor wire barriers, to hotspots along the Texas-Mexico border. On Sunday, a second phase was implemented with the deployment of two quick reaction forces composed of military police units, one in El Paso and one deployed today from San Antonio to the Rio Grande Valley.

The new Texas Tactical Border Force is in addition to Governor Abbott’s historic Operation Lone Star border security mission, which was first launched in March 2021. Under Operation Lone Star, Texas has deployed thousands of Texas National Guard soldiers and DPS troopers to the border and apprehended more than 373,000 illegal immigrants, arrested over 28,000 criminals, and seized more than 400 million lethal doses of fentanyl—enough to kill every man, woman, and child in America. The Texas Tactical Border Force and Operation Lone Star are part of Governor Abbott’s comprehensive border security strategy that includes providing relief to overrun border communities by busing migrants to sanctuary cities, as well as building our own border wall.

With Title 42 ending this Thursday, the Biden Administration estimates up to 13,000 migrants will illegally cross America’s southern border every single day, which could total more than 4.7 million new illegal immigrants in the next year, or roughly the population of Houston’s Harris County.

Governor Abbott has taken unprecedented action to secure the border in the wake of the federal government’s inaction, including:

  • Securing $4 billion in funding for Texas' border security efforts
  • Launching Operation Lone Star and deploying thousands of Texas National Guard soldiers and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers
  • Hiring Texas' first-ever Border Czar to oversee border security
  • Taking aggressive action to aid border communities, including busing thousands of migrants to Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia
  • Designating Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations to keep Texans safe amid the growing national fentanyl crisis
  • Arresting and jailing criminals trespassing or committing other state crimes along the southern border
  • Issuing an executive order authorizing the Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety to return illegal immigrants to the border at ports of entry
  • Allocating resources to acquire 1,700 unused steel panels to build the border wall in Texas
  • Signing a law to make it easier to prosecute smugglers bringing people into Texas
  • Signing 15 laws cracking down on human trafficking in Texas
  • Signing a law enhancing penalties for the manufacturing and distribution of fentanyl
  • Issuing a disaster declaration for the border crisis
  • Issuing an executive order preventing non-governmental entities from transporting illegal immigrants
  • Signing memoranda of understanding between the State of Texas and the States of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to enhance border security measures in their states that will prevent illegal immigration from Mexico to Texas
  • Activating the Joint Border Security Operations Center (JBSOC) and directing the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Military Department, and Texas Division of Emergency Management to coordinate Texas’ response to secure the border

Read more on additional actions taken by the Governor to secure the border.