Fri. Aug 12th, 2022

MCALLEN, Texas-The swarm of National Guard soldiers and state police sent by governors to guard the Texas-Mexico border earlier this summer is gone, leaving the border effectively unmanned with only 6% of reinforcements left.

“We used to have a National Guard sent there,” Border Patrol Officer Chris Cabrera told the Washington Examiner as he drove along a dirt road that runs parallel to the border near Hidalgo Harbor late one evening recently. “There was someone else right here, but they also took that guy.”

Cabrera is vice president of the border patrol association’s Rio Grande Valley chapter. On a 12-mile drive along roads used by agents to gain access to the overgrown land along the Rio Grande, Cabrera points to a total of 11 locations where National Guard soldiers had been deployed all summer. They manned mobile camera towers and could also summon sightings of illegal immigrants or drug smugglers trying to sneak through the brush.

Now no one is on guard, and Cabrera admits that agents, half of whom have been pulled from the field to transport and process illegal cruisers in custody, do not even know who is getting through in the unguarded areas. Cabrera described it as “wide open”.


“We were already stretched thin with their help, and having them here relieved a lot of pressure on us,” Cabrera said. “Now they took away labor that we can’t really afford to take away.”

Reinforcements were called in early summer. In June, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asked for help from other states patrolling the border, as more migrants encountered than ever in the past two decades. Arkansas and South Dakota sent in state National Guard soldiers while state troops were called up from Florida, Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio.

But four months since Abbott’s call for assistance, nearly everyone has quietly returned home, according to data from the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Texas Military Department. The 48 soldiers from South Dakota were called back. Among state police, all 14 in Ohio, 26 in Nebraska, 28 in Iowa and 69 from Florida have been pulled off the line without being able to work indefinitely out of state.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, said Wednesday that the state could not continue with the cost, while other governors have said their states need law enforcement back in their communities.

On Friday, only 11 non-Texas soldiers are the only non-state military or law enforcement assistance on the border, less than one-tenth of the staff that was there this summer.

“They wanted to monitor the mobile center, mobile tower cars, camera cars,” Cabrera said. “No one brings them out because they are not there. It was static positions where we would put a vehicle and two guards in there so if anyone ran over that area, they could call it out. ”

Anna Giaritelli / Washington Examiner

In this part of the Rio Grande Valley, it is common to see border patrol agents parked in their vehicles every half mile to a mile. Only two agents were in the field on patrol in the 12 miles.

Many agents in the field here are affiliated with an outdoor treatment center under a bridge in Anzalduas Park. Just several dozen yards from the edge of this place stood a lone woman on the gravel road that Cabrera was driving down. She approached Cabrera’s personal vehicle and said she was from Venezuela, right after crossing the river and did not know where to go.

Anna Giaritelli / Washington Examiner

Further down Rincon Road, known as the dirt road, as migrants who have crossed the Rio Grande will go down to find agents and surrender or escape, groups of families and single adults walked in from the river. Four Hidalgo County constables stood parked at the top of the road, ready to lead migrants toward the outdoor treatment center, where they would wait for several hours before being transported to a tent facility or border patrol station.

Anna Giaritelli / Washington Examiner

A pregnant woman held her belly as she gave her name to one of the constables. Another woman on crutches told the constable that she fell while trying to board the infamous “Beast” train in Mexico, and the train wheel ran over her lower legs. Her legs were amputated below the knee, but she continued for hundreds of miles determined to get to the United States. She is the last in the group to surrender and limp further behind the others.

Anna Giaritelli / Washington Examiner


The Rio Grande Valley has experienced more illegal immigration encounters over the past decade than any of the eight other regions that the Border Patrol patrols along the 2,000-kilometer border.

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Tags: News, border, Texas, immigration, Mexican border, border patrol

Original author: Anna Giaritelli

Original location: The border left ‘wide open’ after red states withdrew the National Guard and police

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