National Guard troops will be deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border to deter people from crossing illegally, federal officials said.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the plans Wednesday, but didn’t say exactly when the deployment would start, when it would end or how many troops would be deployed.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wanted to send troops to the border, apparently in response to reports of a “migrant caravan” of people from Central America that planned to travel to the border to seek asylum in the United States.
Organizers of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the group that organized the caravan, said the group now plans to stop in Mexico City and that it never planned to attempt crossing the border illegally. U.S. officials still maintain a troop deployment is necessary to ensure national security.
“We apprehend more than a thousand people a day — 300,000 a year — who violate our nation’s sovereignty by crossing our borders illegally,” the homeland security department said in its announcement. “This must end. Deploying the National Guard will serve as an immediate deterrent while dramatically enhancing operational control of the U.S. border.”
Members of Congress representing Galveston County generally supported Trump’s order.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn emphasized the deployment decision has precedence from previous administrations.
“Utilizing the men and women of the National Guard in a supportive role, as President Obama authorized in 2010, is a common-sense way to temporarily assist law enforcement along the border,” Cornyn said. “It’s critical that the administration continue to work in close consultation with state and community leaders to ensure the border region can remain safe and prosperous.”
In an interview with Capital Tonight, a news show from Austin’s Spectrum News channel, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said he supported sending troops to the border.
U.S. Rep. Randy Weber said he supported “strong borders” and the new plan.
“The National Guard has long played an important role in securing the Texas/Mexico border,” Weber said. “I appreciate the administration’s efforts to further secure our entire southern border.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also supported Trump’s order.
“My top priority as governor is ensuring the safety and security of Texans, and securing our southern border has always been essential to that mission,” Abbott said.
“Today’s action by the Trump Administration reinforces Texas’ longstanding commitment to secure our southern border and uphold the rule of law, and I welcome the support. Going forward, Texas will continue to implement robust border security efforts, and this partnership will help ensure we are doing everything we can to stem the flow of illegal immigration.”
When the plan was first floated, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke said sending troops to the border would be “wrong” and dangerous to soldiers, U.S. citizens and other people on the border. O’Rourke, a Democrat, is running against Cruz for U.S. Senate.
BETO’S BIG BUCKS
Beto O’Rourke opened some eyes, again, this week with his latest campaign finance reports showing some big numbers.
O’Rourke is challenging Ted Cruz for his senate seat in November. On Wednesday, O’Rourke’s campaign reported raising $6.7 million during the first three months of 2018. It is the largest single fundraising quarter he has reported during his campaign and is the largest amount raised in a Texas U.S. Senate race since 1976, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Cruz’s campaign had about $1 million more cash on hand than O’Rourke in February. The official Federal Election Commission campaign finance reports will be released in the next few days.
In local races, Randy Weber and Adrienne Bell, his Democratic opponent in Texas’ 14th Congressional District, had not yet filed first-quarter campaign finance reports as of Wednesday
In mid-February, Weber, a Friendswood Republican, held a sizable lead over Bell, who is from Pearland. Weber had $444,316.29 on hand, Bell had $7,379.80.
REGISTER TO VOTE
Today is the last day to register to vote if you want to participate in the May 5 municipal elections.
Voters in Galveston, Texas City, La Marque, Santa Fe, Hitchcock, Bayou Vista, Clear Lake Shores, Jamaica Beach and Bacliff all have contests to weigh in on this year.
To register to vote in Galveston County, you must complete an application and turn it in by mail or at a voter registrar office. The main voter registrar office is at 722 21st St. in Galveston, in the Tax Assessors office.
Forms are also available at the North County Annex, 174 Calder Road, in League City; the Texas City Annex, 2516 Texas Ave., in Texas City; and the West County Annex, 11730 state Highway 6, in Santa Fe.
To register to vote, you must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Galveston County and at least 18 years old by Election Day. Convicted felons on probation or parole are not eligible to vote, but people who have completed their sentences might be.
Early voting for the May municipal elections begins on April 23.
Members of the Texas House Freedom Caucus on Wednesday said they would support legislation to remove state rules barring teachers from being licensed if they are in default on their student loans. ... Campaign finance reports for local municipal elections are due today. … The Galveston Alliance of Island Neighborhoods will host a Galveston City Council candidates forum at The Grand 1894 Opera House from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 12.