The Texas National Guard has installed concertina wire along certain parts of the Texas-New Mexico border to deter unlawful migrants from entering El Paso through New Mexico.
Gov. Greg Abbott said in a social media post that the “barriers around El Paso forced the migrants crossing illegally to enter into New Mexico.”
“They then entered into El Paso from there. To end that, we are building a barrier on the New Mexico border,” Abbott added.
Abbott reportedly ordered the Texas National Guard to create a barrier along New Mexico and Texas state lines. As a result, guard members are installing concertina wire near Sunland Park, New Mexico, which shares a border with El Paso, Texas, according to ABC News.
The governor previously discussed the possibility of such a move while speaking at an event hosted by the Manhattan Institute on September 27.
“And so not only are we building border barriers between the border of Texas and Mexico, we’re also having now to build border barriers between Texas and New Mexico,” Abbott said at the event, per The Texas Tribune.
A statement from the Texas Military Department (TMD) confirmed the installation, stating that the National Guard “heavily fortified the border in El Paso with 18 miles of concertina wire.”
“We are now fortifying the border between Texas and New Mexico to block migrants who are entering New Mexico illegally and then crossing into Texas. The effort in El Paso was bolstered by the recent deployment of the Texas Tactical Border Force to El Paso,” said TMD, per ABC News.
“The Texas National Guard remains focused on operations to prevent, deter, and interdict transnational criminal activity and illegal immigration along the border,” TMD added.
Caroline Sweeney, a spokesperson for New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, criticized Abbott’s request and said he should instead “turn his attention away from a never-ending stream of political stunts and toward working in earnest for the people of the state he was elected to represent,” as reported by The Texas Tribune.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa and Democratic Party of New Mexico Chair Jessica Velasquez also condemned the installation of the wire in a joint press release, claiming it will lead to “environmental damage, community division and injuries of vulnerable migrants.”
“Shame on Greg Abbott for using public tax dollars to uplift his dangerous approach to border security and infringing upon Texans’ and New Mexicans’ right to move freely across state lines,” said Hinojosa and Velasquez in the press release.
“Texas and New Mexico Democrats condemn Abbott’s razor wire fencing along our state borders and call for its removal effective immediately,” the Democrats concluded.
The wire installation comes amid a record-high number of monthly unlawful migrant encounters in September and a record-high number of encounters during a single year.