The Texas National Guard stationed itself at the southern border near El Paso on Tuesday in an effort to prevent unlawful migrants from entering the United States.
“The service members in El Paso are in the process of erecting concertina barriers to deter and turn back migrants,” according to the Texas Military Department.
National Guard members, on the other side of the concertina wire, told the prospective unlawful migrants to leave, as they were not crossing at a legal entry point, and go to a port of entry.
Migrants may also be turned away at a legal port of entry due to the current implementation of Title 42, as previously covered by The Dallas Express.
Despite the concertina barrier erected on the banks of the Rio Grande, groups of potential unlawful migrants remained in the area, growing to about 200 to 300 people by late afternoon on Tuesday.
The presence of the National Guard has been vocally opposed by El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego.
“I will see if I can send a letter immediately to the governor of my insistence that coordinated efforts whether busing, medical supplies, or enforcement are essential,” he said. “Uncoordinated or unsolicited initiatives of any kind from the state will likely be disruptive and will undoubtedly add to our initiatives.”
Alternatively, Laura Cruz-Acosta, strategic communications director for the City of El Paso, argued in favor of the Guard’s activities.
“Texas Guard personnel are providing humanitarian support to migrants,” she said. “They are providing logistical support processing travel for migrants.”
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser recently declared a state of emergency as unlawful migrants have overwhelmed both local border patrol and law enforcement.
In a Saturday press conference, Leeser said he was pushed to make the decision when he saw unlawful migrants sleeping on the streets as freezing temperatures approached.
“That’s not the way we want to treat people, and by calling a state of emergency, it gives us the ability to be able to do what we couldn’t do until we called it,” he said. “I said from the beginning that I would call it when I felt that either our asylum seekers or community were not safe.”