EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered the Texas National Guard to assist state police with what the governor calls arrests related to “the border crisis.”

Abbott on Tuesday sent a letter to Maj. Gen. Tracy R. Norris, Adjutant General of the Texas National Guard, ordering guardsmen to assist the Texas Department of Public Safety with individuals who face state charges.

“By virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, I hereby order that the Texas National Guard assist DPS in enforcing Texas law by arresting lawbreakers at the border,” Abbott wrote in his letter.

During a Border Security Summit in mid-June in Del Rio, announced that undocumented immigrants who commit state crimes such as trespassing will be subject to arrest and jail time. And as part of a disaster declaration issued in May, Abbott directed DPS to enforce all federal and state criminal laws, including criminal trespassing, smuggling, and human trafficking.

In his letter to Norris, Abbott outlined provisions in the Texas Constitution and the Texas Government Code that grant the governor the power to deploy the National Guard.

“As ‘Commander-in-Chief of the military forces of the State’ under Article IV, Section 7 of the Texas Constitution, the governor can ‘call forth the militia to execute the laws of the State,'” the governor wrote. “Section 431.111 of the Texas Government Code likewise recognizes that the governor can call on state military forces ‘to enforce state law’ and ‘to assist civil authorities in guarding [or] conveying prisoners.’ And Section 437.002 of the Texas Government Code recognizes that ‘the governor has full control and authority over all matters relating to the Texas military forces.'”

“To respond to this disaster and secure the rule of law at our Southern border, more manpower is needed – in addition to the troopers from DPS and soldiers from the Texas National Guard I have already deployed there – and DPS needs help in arresting those who are violating state law,” Abbott wrote.

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