Texas Governor Gregg Abbott means business at the Texas border with Mexico. He is not backing down, after having sent busloads of migrants up north.
Gregg Abbott now says he will send 10 M113 armored personnel tanks to the southern border. He tweeted his intentions and invoked the “invasion clause” of the US and Texas constitutions, due to the extremely high numbers of migrants entering the US through the Texas-Mexico border.
On Wednesday, Governor Abbott warned President Joe Biden that Texas would defend itself from what Abbott considers to be a “migrant invasion.”
Governor Abbott said the Texas National Guard will send the M113 armored vehicles to the southern border as part of his “Operation Lone Star,” and the Texas Military Department announced that around 50 soldiers would undergo training to operate the tanks. The operation is part of the Texas National Guard.
Armored personnel carriers are huge tanks that move on tank-style treads instead of regular wheels to get through rough terrain.
At a huge price tag – $300,000 for a new M133 – the vehicles are bulletproof and can survive a small explosion without major damage. The military can also fit them with grenade launchers, heavy machine guns, and anti-tank missiles. It hasn’t been decided yet whether the National Guard will supply the vehicles sent to the border with weapons.
The US recently sent hundreds of M113s to Ukraine to help them fight back against the Russian invasion.
The Texas Military Department said that sending the armored personnel vehicles was part of a larger plan by the state of Texas to use any tools available to them in the fight against illegal immigration.
The department also announced that they would be increasing aircraft surveillance and security in addition to the deployment of the tanks to further safeguard the border.
In a letter sent out on Wednesday, Governor Abbott told the President that Texas was taking the migrant crisis at the border very seriously. He criticized Biden for his policies that have led to overwhelming consequences. He said that Texas residents were paying the price for the federal government’s failure to secure the border.
Governor Abbott’s tweet also condemned the president for not responding to their pleas to close the border and for failing to visit the area and see what is going on. According to Governor Abbott, President Biden’s silence on the border crisis for the last two years had forced the Texas governor him to escalate efforts to make Texas safe.
Abbott invoked the constitutional clause found in Article 1 Section 10 of the US constitution, which forbids US states from taking any unilateral military action unless they are invaded or are in imminent danger such that they cannot afford to delay. Governor Abbott refers to the influx of migrants into the US as “an invasion.”
In addition to sending armored personnel vehicles to the border, Governor Abbott wants to build a wall on parts of the border and send gunboats to the area as well. He also wants to label Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations, something only the federal government has the authority to do.
The increase in migrants seeking asylum in the US and attempting to cross into the US through the Mexican border since 2021 has caused a huge stress on the US federal immigration system. The most recent CPB data shows that over 200,000 undocumented migrants crossed into the US in October.
In 2021, over 2.3 million migrants were recorded along the southern border, with 1.6 million being adults and 152,000 unaccompanied minors.