Texas To Build Military “Base Camp” On Mexico Border To House 1,800 Soldiers

In the latest signal of his resolve to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States, Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Friday announced that the Lone Star State will build a military base along the Rio Grand at the border city of Eagle Pass. 

Spanning 80-acres, “Forward Operating Base Eagle” will house upwards of 1,800 Texas National Guard soldiers supporting Operation Lone Star, and will be expandable to house 2,300. Texas Maj. Gen. Thomas Suelzer said the camp will have 300 beds by mid-April, and will add another 300 beds every month after that. 

Texas National Guard soldiers stand in the backdrop of Friday’s press conference announcing the construction of Forward Operating Base Eagle (KXAN News)

“Before this effort here, they had been living in conditions that were atypical for military operations,” Abbott said at a press conference in Eagle Pass. “Because of the magnitude of what we’re doing, because of the need to sustain and actually expand our efforts of what we’re doing, it’s essential that we build this base camp for the soldiers.” As it is, soldiers are housed all over the area, varyingly living in hotels, tents and even some private houses. Some bear long commutes. 

“Illegal crossings are down and, coincidentally, razor-wire barrier is up,” said Abbott. “We will continue to muster the efforts are needed to make sure that Texas does the job that the United States Congress has mandated. The United States Congress has mandated for barriers to be built on the border. Biden is not building those barriers.”

Eagle Pass has been in the national spotlight in recent months, a flashpoint in the ongoing battle between Texas and the federal government over border security, including state authority to enforce immigration laws. Earlier this year, Texas seized control of a 47-acre park in the city, a park that has been a major avenue of illegal immigration. The Texans also began barring US Border Patrol agents and watercraft from the property, which they’ve used as a staging area for processing migrants.

The new base, located about 6 miles south of the park, will include a 700-seat dining facility, workout equipment, a recreation center and laundries, vehicle maintenance bays, weapons storage rooms and a helipad. Soldiers will have individual rooms.  

In January, the US Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could proceed with removing razor wire installed by Texas at the Eagle Pass border. However, a defiant Gov. Abbott not only slammed the order and barred federal agents from accessing the razor wire, he also added even more.

On Friday, officials said they will add more barriers extending to the north and south of Shelby Park, the recreational site seized by the state in January, add three fan boats to the river-patrol capacity, and expand drone and radar capabilities. Some 3,000 Texas troops are deployed along the 1,200-mile-long Mexican frontier.

In December, Texas enacted a law allowing state law enforcement to arrest immigrants who’ve entered Texas without authorization. Biden’s Justice Department quickly sued, arguing that the Texas law encroaches on federal border-management authority. 

Gallup recently found that, among Americans who disapprove of President Biden’s job performance, immigration is their top reason for giving him a failing mark. In the January poll, only 41% approved of Biden — the worst-ever showing for an incumbent at that time in his term.


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