Fox News host Tucker Carlson pressed Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, Wednesday on what he is doing to secure the border in light of the federal government’s relative inaction.
Carlson reported Abbott successfully ran for re-election in part on his opposition to an open border and a plan to deploy thousands of National Guard troops to stem illegal immigration.
He added Abbott recently deployed National Guard troops to the border, whom he said intercepted illegal immigrants before they could surrender to federal Border Patrol agents and likely be released into the nation’s interior.
He asked Abbott why, in his view, he has not deployed sufficient forces to the border to do the job the Biden administration refuses to do.
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Abbott replied by first agreeing the Biden administration is culpable for the crisis, saying the border could be secured if Congress allocated 1% of its Ukraine-related funding to that endeavor.
On his state’s response to the border specifically, Abbott said he has long illustrated with photographs how fervently the Texas National Guard is defending its state’s sovereignty.
“During the entire time that Joe Biden has been president, we’ve had thousands of National Guard on the border constantly,” he said.
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“First, let’s do the math based upon what you laid out,” he told Carlson. “We actually don’t have 19,000 National Guard at our disposal. The reason is because Texas leads all states in the country in having our National Guard deployed to regions across the entire world, and so thousands of our National Guard are actually in other countries at this time.”
Abbott said his state’s Operation Lone Star has deployed up to 10,000 National Guardsmen to the border, adding Texas uniquely provides incentives for guardsmen to remain on duty past their one-year tour.
In response, Carlson asked Abbott if his previous comment about foreign deployments was a boast.
Abbott replied he was stating a fact that Texans are deployed globally as well as stateside, to which Carlson asked if it would be more prudent to make them deploy to the border rather than to other countries.
Abbott reiterated he has deployed as many as 10,000 guardsmen to the border, underlining the force is always onboarding new members.
“We are constantly involved in adding to those who can serve us on the border, and they get special training that is different [as to] what they have to do in the state of Texas compared to what they may do in Afghanistan.”
When asked if he believes the border is a more “hair-on-fire emergency” than foreign deployments, Abbott responded that he has made that exact point to Congress to no avail, saying Texas appears to be the only governmental entity interested in securing its border.