Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen is sending more than 60 Nebraska Army National Guard soldiers to the U.S.-Mexico border to aid Texas authorities in their efforts to counter immigration and drug trafficking there.
The soldiers, who will depart Wednesday from Nebraska and will return in early September, are being sent to the border to provide “additional observation and reporting near the border” to assist Texas law enforcement involved in “Operation Lone Star,” Pillen’s office announced Monday.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott launched the operation in March 2021, deploying resources from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to the border in an effort to secure the area. The operation has been ongoing since.
“This mission is critical to the security of Nebraska as well as other states,” Pillen said in a news release announcing Wednesday’s deployment of Nebraskans.
“We need to maintain the safety of our citizenry and stem the ongoing influx of illegal drugs, weapons and criminals into our borders.”
Pillen’s team noted Nebraska’s participation in the operation comes at the request of emergency management officials in Texas. Federal funds “directed through the Nebraska National Guard will cover costs associated with this deployment,” the governor’s office said.
The governor in May sent 10 Nebraska state troopers to assist in drone surveillance for two weeks.
The state was not reimbursed for costs of that deployment, which was paid for through the State Patrol’s budget, the governor’s office said then.
May’s deployment marked the third time a Nebraska governor has sent troopers to the border. The state’s tab for such deployments has already pushed north of $600,000, the Nebraska Examiner reported last week.
In Monday’s announcement, Pillen’s team pointed to President Joe Biden’s “ineffective” border policies as the impetus for Nebraska’s presence at the border.
Pillen said failing to address the situation at the border “only opens the door to threats that we can’t fully recognize yet.”
Citing statistics provided by Abbott’s office, Pillen’s team said authorities working on Operation Lone Star have apprehended nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants, made 31,800 criminal arrests resulting in 29,300 felony charges, and seized 422 million doses of fentanyl.
It’s unclear how much fentanyl constitutes a dose.
Source : Journal Star