News Roundup: National Guard Deployment On Texas’ Southern Border Falls Short Of Abbott’s Goal

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMay 17, 2018 1:57 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

In early April, Gov. Greg Abbott said Texas would send up to 1,400 National Guard troops to the southern border. The move was in response to President Donald Trump’s push for more forces to block drug trafficking and illegal immigration.

But as Carlos Morales with Marfa Public Radio reports, the number of Texas troops at the border is far from that figure.

As of this week, the Texas National Guard says there are approximately 900 troops deployed and stationed at sectors along the Texas-Mexico border. That includes places like El Paso, Big Bend and the Rio Grande Valley. The number deployed is short of the 1,400-personnel goal Gov. Greg Abbott set out last month. In a statement, the Texas Military says “the number of personnel fluctuates regularly and that they are ensuring the right soldiers with the right skill sets are provided to sectors at an appropriate time and at a quote “deliberate pace.”

The largest deployment of national guard troops in the state is at the Rio Grande Valley sector, where 328 troops are stationed.

Thursday marks the third anniversary of the 2015 shootout between police and motorcycle gangs at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco that left 9 people dead.

A memorial rally is being held Thursday afternoon for the bikers involved.

From KWBU in Waco, Will Burney reports the rally comes after a majority of charges against the bikers have been dropped.

177 people were originally arrested for the incident on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity, and now only about a dozen cases will be taken to court on other felony charges like rioting and aggravated assault. Biker groups have long criticized the McClennan County DA’s handling of the arrests and the blanket one million-dollar bonds that were set.  Only 1 case has gone to trial, and it ended in a hung jury. More than a hundred civil lawsuits from bikers are still pending.

The Trump administration is considering using Texas military bases to house migrant children whose families have crossed the border illegally.

That’s according to The Washington Post, which reports federal officials plan to do site assessments at military installations over the next two weeks. Minors, who arrive at the border without an adult relative or after the government has separated them from their parents, would be held at the bases.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said Wednesday, there needs to be a way to prevent immigrants who have entered the country illegally from falling off the government’s radar.

“And so a system of humane detention, and providing access to an immigration judge to state your case and to make your case, and if you’re entitled to an immigration benefit to get,” Cornyn says. “But if not, then you’d be expeditiously returned to the country of your origin.”

Using military bases to house migrant children isn’t without precedent.

During the 2014 child and family migrant crisis, the Obama administration sheltered more than 7,000 children at bases in Texas, Oklahoma, and California. That year, nearly 70,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended at the US-Mexico border.