EAGLE PASS, Texas — The sight of National Guardsmen patrolling the banks of the Rio Grande in the Del Rio Sector is nothing new, but a closer inspection of the newly arrived Guardsmen's uniforms reveal they are not from Texas, but from the state of Florida.
The recent deployment of Florida National Guardsmen, on orders from Governor Ron DeSantis (R), is part of a renewed operation to help Texas address the still high number of illegal crossings into the state despite Title 42 no longer being in place. While there has been a drop in illegal crossings, the ones that are still taking place are higher than they have been prior to the Biden administration. Those at the border say the numbers could climb again if illegal immigrants believe they can be released into the United States like before.
"The mission here is to prevent, detect, and interdict transnational criminal activity," Major Edward Flinn, of 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, told Townhall, noting the soldiers are "instructed to deter" people crossing the border but if they reach further within the United States, they have to hand them over to Border Patrol.
"The guys are doing great. They're enjoying the mission and it's been beneficial to Texas that we got some guys out here so they can pull their guys back from the line and and give them a little bit of longer breaks...But the [Florida] guys are happy, they're doing a great job, all professionals. It's been nice to be able to repay some of the favors that we get when we have hurricanes with other Guard forces coming into Florida to help us out," Flinn said.
A humorous side effect of having Texas and Florida Guardsmen working side by side at the southern border is noticing the differences in their Spanish dialects as the Texans speak Mexican-style Spanish while the Floridians speak Caribbean-influenced Spanish.
"Honestly, I'm blessed, that's the way I think about it, that Texas Governor [Abbott] has asked [Florida] for assistance. And I am very thankful Governor Ron DeSantis has allowed us to help Texas. Texas has been there, they've been through a lot...They have their own hurricanes, they have their own state issues that they active their Guard. They needed some help," SSgt. Casanas, squad leader for 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, said to Townhall.
"Texas has been there for us when we have had hurricanes. We've done different training cycles together, we've been on deployments together. There's nothing better than a Texas Guardsmen I'm honestly honored to be here to help them out when they need help," Casanas added.
Up to 400 Florida National Guardsmen have been deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border. That is in addition to the Florida Highway Patrol troopers, Florida Department of Law Enforcement officers, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers. Air and water assets from Florida are also in the region.
Governor Tate Reeves (R) has also deployed the Mississippi National Guard’s 112th Military Police Battalion to the southern border since "the Biden Administration’s unwillingness to put public safety over politics. Every state has become a border state..."