Texas Gov. Abbott is building a new base in Eagle Pass amid a battle with Biden

Flanked by armed National Guard members, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Friday plans to build a base for up to 1,800 troops in Eagle Pass, as state leaders clash with the Biden administration over immigration. enforcement.

The base, slated to bring an initial 300 troops by April, is Abbott's latest effort to control border crossings into Texas under a mission known as Operation Lone Star, which he launched less than two months after President Biden took office. Plans for the base come as the country prepares for a presidential election, counting hundreds of thousands of migrants who have crossed the southern border illegally in recent months.

The base “will concentrate a large army in a very strategic area. It will increase the speed and flexibility of the Texas National Guard to be able to respond to crossroads,” Abbott said during a news conference in Eagle Pass on Friday.

An 80-acre “forward operating base” – used by the US Army to mark many of its camps. Iraq and Afghanistan points – Sits near the Rio Grande. According to Maj. Gen. Thomas Sulzer, head of the Texas Army Department, it will include command posts, weapons storage rooms, vehicle maintenance bays and a helicopter pad.

Forward Operating Base Eagle, as Abbott called it, would cut down on expensive hotel stays and hours of travel, which some troops are doing every step of the way to fulfill their border duties, the governor said.

“Prior to this, the Texas National Guard was scattered across this entire region in critical areas, separated from their fellow soldiers, and sometimes traveling long distances to do their jobs,” Abbott said in a statement. “This base camp is going to dramatically improve conditions for our soldiers.”

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The contract, awarded Feb. 9 to New Braunfels, Tex., firm Team Housing Solutions, lists a completion date of Sept. 7 and a price tag for construction of the site of $131 million, military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported. reported.

The site will be about 6 miles south of Shelby Park — a battleground between Texas and the federal government that has been the site of thousands of unauthorized border crossings from Mexico.

Abbott took control of Shelby Park, located in Eagle Pass on the banks of the Rio Grande, in January. He barred Border Patrol agents from the park, which they had long used as a stage. Abbott argued that the federal government was not doing enough to stop illegal crossings, but his critics said the move was inhumane and a dangerous violation of state power.

In January, the Biden administration sued Texas over its immigration policies. Later that month, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered Abbott to allow the Border Patrol to remove razor-wire barriers preventing agents from reaching the river to help at-risk migrants. Instead, Abbott instituted more razor wire — a move promoted by 25 Republican governors. Signed a letter of support.

The new platform allows National Guard members to install that razor wire more efficiently, Abbott said Friday.

“Our goal is to extend that razor wire performance to many areas in this region,” he said.

Abbott has drawn support from the 2024 Republican presidential nominee in his dispute with the Biden administration. Former President Donald Trump wrote on social media on Jan. 25 that Texas should “give full support to defeat the invasion.”

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On January 6, 2021, the situation has become so toxic that extremist watchers warn they are seeing signs of an attack on the US Capitol in defiance of Abbott's federal orders, with members of the militant-style group visiting Eagle Pass.

Texas The first border tsarMike Banks, who oversees state border security, said Friday the facility brings troops together so they can better do work the federal government refuses to do.

“It's absolutely ridiculous that we're fighting the federal government every day,” he said.

Arelis R. Hernandez and Hannah Alam contributed to this report.

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