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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to send at least 1,000 troops to the border to assist Homeland Security

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott plans to increase the number of National Guard troops being sent to the U.S.-Mexico border. (Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced he would increase the number of troops deployed to the border between the United States and Mexico to "more than 1,000."

Abbott's announcement came Monday in response to President Donald Trump's pledge to tighten security at the border.

“Until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military,” Trump said April 3.

The Texas governor told KTSA radio that he would send about 300 Texas National Guard members each week until it reaches at least 1,000.

What will the troops be doing?

Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Defense Department spokesman, told The Washington Post in a statement that the National Guard troops will be providing various types of support to Customs and Border Protection, an agency of Homeland Security, at the border.

The troops will provide air support using drones and helicopters, as well as maintaining roads, clearing vegetation, assisting with surveillance systems and other duties.

The troops won't be guarding the border or arresting those who attempt to cross illegally.

“We want to downplay any notion that would be misinformed that our National Guard are showing up with military bayonets, trying to take on anybody who’s coming across the border because that is not their role,” Abbott said during the radio interview.

But will they be armed?

Not all of the troops will be armed.

“National Guard personnel will only be armed for their own self-protection to the extent required by the circumstances of the mission they are performing,” Davis said.

What about the other border states?

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) plans to send 338 Arizona National Guard members to the Arizona-Mexico border. On Monday, it deployed 225 troops.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) also plans to support the mission. She will send 80 troops later this week and eventually plans to deploy a total of 250.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has not committed to sending troops to the border.

It's unclear how long troops will remain in place and the cost has also not been announced.

What else?

The number of illegal border crossings in March was up by more than 200 percent over the same period in 2017, according to Homeland Security.

Officials apprehended 37,393 people who tried to cross illegally in March, and another 12,915 were deemed inadmissible at the border.

“The crisis at our Southwest border is real. The number of illegal border crossings during the month of March shows an urgent need to address the ongoing situation at the border. We saw a 203 percent increase from March 2017 compared to March 2018 and a 37 percent increase from last month to this month — the largest increase from month to month since 2011," Department of Homeland Security press secretary Tyler Q. Houlton said in a statement Thursday. "Illegal aliens continue to exploit our immigration laws. We need to close these dangerous loopholes that are being taken advantage of each and every day, gain operational control of the border, and fully fund the border wall system. As the President has repeatedly said, all options are on the table.”

One last thing…
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