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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

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Indiana National Guard deploying 50 troops to Texas in border effort

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The Indiana National Guard will send 50 troops to El Paso, Texas early April for Operation Lone Star, an effort created by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in 2021 to enforce federal and state laws preventing migration along the border. The troops, made up of 50 men and women, will spend 10 months at the border, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb wrote in a column for the IndyStar in February. 

A March 26 press release from the Indiana National Guard Public Affairs Office stated the Hoosier Guardsmen will assist the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety in Abbott’s efforts to expand his border strategy.  

Holcomb made the decision to deploy troops in collaboration with 12 other state governors to support Abbott’s plan to stop the flow of migrants, according to reporting by the Indiana Capital Chronicle. Holcomb, along with 25 other governors, previously signed onto a statement declaring solidarity with Texas’ strategies, some of which include the use of razor wire fences. Immigration experts have stated razor wire fence is rarely effective  in stopping immigration and can lead to more migrant fatalities. 

Holcomb, along with Indiana Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Dale Lyles, spoke at a departure ceremony Thursday morning at Camp Atterbury, Building 722 in Edinburgh, Indiana.  

“Hoosiers are proving once again: If the federal government at large can’t get its act together on the border, we will,” Holcomb said in his speech, according to reporting from the Capital Chronicle.  

Holcomb and National Guard members cited illicit drugs entering Indiana as a primary reason for the deployment. In his speech, Holcomb pointed toward the seizure of 92 pounds of meth, 8 pounds of cocaine, 1 pound of fentanyl and a half-pound of heroin in a single arrest Tuesday in Indianapolis. However, he said, it is still unclear if the drugs did enter the country through El Paso.  

From 2021 to 2022, around 721,000 people ages 12 or older were reported to have used illicit drugs in the past month, according to data from the 2021-2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. 

Sgt. Daniel Cook, one of the guardsmen going to Texas, said during the departure event the mission is to curb unauthorized entry and the fentanyl epidemic. However, the vast majority of illicit fentanyl, around 90%, is seized at official border crossings brought by people who are legally authorized to cross the border, immigration authorities told NPR. More than half of illicit fentanyl is seized from U.S. citizens, and virtually none from migrants seeking asylum.  

The deployment is expected to cost Indiana $7.1 million. Holcomb previously sent 300 soldiers to Texas over the last three years, missions paid for by the federal government.  

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