Eric Douglas Published

National Guard Troops Head For Southern Border

Close up of a U.S. Army National Guard soldier in uniform. An American flag patch can be seen on the soldier's shoulder as they salute.Africa Studio/Adobe Stock

A group of West Virginia soldiers and airmen leaving for the Texas border with Mexico had a sendoff Monday at the West Virginia National Guard headquarters in Charleston, surrounded by dignitaries. 

In May, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent letters to a number of other governors asking for help for Operation Lone Star — to support efforts by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

Fifty volunteers from the West Virginia National Guard are heading out for a month-long deployment. According to Gov. Jim Justice, the troops will help “secure the border, reduce the flood of fentanyl, and combat the human trafficking crisis.” 

And it just may very well be that you, by what you’re doing, you could absolutely do something that could change the course of the whole world,” Justice said. 

The number of illegal border crossings has dropped off significantly since May with the end of Title 42 and the national COVID-19 emergency. 

The West Virginia governor’s office has said there will be a cost to the state for this effort but has not provided details on what that will be. 

There are also about 400 national guard members working corrections jobs under an emergency executive order in the state’s prisons. That costs taxpayers $20 million a year.