Texas Declares Migration Emergency Deploying Soldiers to the Southern Border

Cover Image: Migrants wait at the edge of the Rio Grande River to cross into the United States in the context of the end to restrictions imposed by Title 42.

The Government of Texas has deployed soldiers from the Texas National Guard to the southern border in order to contain the passage of migrants crossing into the United States seeking asylum.

Hundreds of soldiers were deployed along the Rio Grande River, equipped with a dozen armored vehicles, in an area commonly used by migrants to enter into the United States. The deployment of soldiers takes place in the context of the City of El Paso declaring a state of emergency over the migrant situation.

The Mayor of El Paso, Oscar Leeser, justified the state of emergency declaration referencing the recent decision from a US judge ordering Title 42—a restrictive pandemic-era border policy—to end on December 21.

Texas National Guard soldiers at the border with Mexico. Photo: Gabriela Minjáres

The soldiers belonging to the 606th Military Police Battalion are part of a Security Response Force trained in civil disturbance operations and mass migration response. The Security Response Force “…is used to safeguard the border and repel and turn-back illegal immigrants,” the National Guard said in a statement.

Within the context of border militarization, migrants are overflowing the shelters, being forced to sleep in freezing temperatures in the streets of El Paso as their only option left.

With the emergency declaration, the city has also announced that it will create an operations center and organize a plan to assist and protect migrants from the harsh weather conditions.

While shelters are being set up and expanded throughout the city, the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) has begun to transport migrants in busses from El Paso to New York and Chicago, considered “sanctuary cities” for people on the move.

According to the El Paso Deputy City Manager, Mario D’Agostino, the response to the migratory crisis will remain in effect until the appeal to Title 42, which is currently working its way through the courts, is ruled upon.

Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocked a federal ruling which called for Title 42 to end on Wednesday, December 21. The suspension will continue while the Supreme Court considers an appeal from Texas and other states who seek to maintain Title 42 in place.

As of publication, Mexican authorities have not commented on the deployment of Texas soldiers to the border of Ciudad Juárez.

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