National Guard Deploys Security In Texas Border

RICHMOND — One hundred Virginia National Guard troops deployed to Texas on Saturday as Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) made good on his pledge to support Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott (R) in his efforts to patrol the border with Mexico.

The Virginia soldiers and airmen departed from Fort Barfoot in Blackstone, joined by 10 support personnel, according to a news release from the Guard.

“Just as the Virginia National Guard stands ready to assist our fellow Virginians in times of need, our Soldiers and Airmen are also ready to provide assistance to other states through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact process and will provide requested capabilities to help our fellow Americans,” Maj. Gen. James W. Ring, the adjutant general of Virginia, said in the release.

Youngkin announced the deployment in May after traveling to Texas with other Republican governors to confer with Abbott on border security. He followed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who sent about 800 National Guard troops, along with state law enforcement officers.

Tennessee, Idaho and Nebraska have also sent National Guard troops or state law enforcement personnel to Texas. Abbott and other Republicans have attacked President Biden for what they call lax border security policies, with DeSantis focusing on the issue as he seeks the GOP presidential nomination next year. Youngkin is widely known to have presidential ambitions; while he has said he will focus this year on Virginia legislative elections, he has not shut the door on a possible last-minute bid.

Youngkin said he is sending the Virginia troops to help stop the flow of illegal narcotics from Mexico, arguing that fentanyl causes thousands of deaths every year in the state. Democrats have accused Youngkin of using the troops in a political stunt, countering that fentanyl is usually smuggled in shipping containers and trucks, not by individuals seeking to cross the border.

“Someone called for help, and we are going to go help them,” Youngkin said Thursday in a visit to the assembled troops, according to the National Guard news release. “That’s what this is all about. I firmly believe this is a worthy mission.”

The deployment is known as Joint Task Force Cardinal and is expected to stay in Texas about 30 days, the release said. The effort will cost Virginia taxpayers about $3.1 million.

The troops who shipped out are led by a unit headquartered in Portsmouth and include Virginia Army and Air National Guard personnel from Lynchburg, Winchester, Fredericksburg, Danville, Staunton and Hampton.

They will work with troops from the Texas Military Department as part of Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, helping to patrol the borde

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