Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry news conference National Guard to Texas border

Gov. Landry cites fentanyl, federal inaction in $3M plan to send 150 National Guard to Texas

BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry revealed his commitment to spend $3 million to send Louisiana National Guard troops to support the Texas National Guard at the U.S. southern border. 

Landry laid out a high-level plan Thursday during a news conference at the Louisiana State Capitol. He was flanked by Brigadier Gen. Michael Greer and Louisiana legislators who support his plan to tackle illegal immigration into the United States, which Landry said is responsible for increased drug and gang activity. 

“Most of us know someone who has lost a loved one to fentanyl,” Gov. Landry said. “Over 125,000 Americans we’re losing on an annual basis due to this crisis. And we know as (Texas) Governor Abbott explained to us that 30,000 pounds of fentanyl was seized at the border in Texas, that is enough to kill almost everyone in the country. So this is an absolute emergency.”

Governor Jeff Landry cited fentanyl, gang activity and human trafficking in his proposal to send Louisiana National Guard troops to help Texas secure the U.S. border. Photojournalist: Chase Brouillette

Deployment of 150 Louisiana National Guard troops in three 30-day rotations of 50 would likely begin in March, officials said. Landry’s plan must still be approved by the Republican-led Louisiana Legislature.

Landry said the federal government and President Biden have done little to address illegal immigration, which he called a “humanitarian crisis” and attributed it to an influx of deadly drugs, gang activity and human trafficking in Louisiana and throughout the United States.

According to Landry, illegal entry at the southern border in Texas eventually puts pressure on Louisiana and other states across the country. He said Iowa, Florida, Tennessee and Missouri have all committed to send troops to support National Guardsmen in Texas.

“So this money that some people are claiming is wasted, it’s not wasted,” Landry said. “It helps prepare our troops, train our troops and it also helps our neighbors in Texas.”

While Greer would not provide specific details about the role of Louisiana troops, he did say Louisiana guardsmen would not handle detentions of people illegally crossing the border and would refer them to the local law enforcement in Texas.

“The duties they’re expected to handle are the duties they’ve been trained for and that the soldiers have participated in … different exercises as well as what they’ve been deployed for in various state emergencies here and elsewhere,” General Greer said. “So we’ll be in support of the Texas National Guard and what they’re doing at the border.”

Greer said this type of operation is good training and builds “readiness and capability” in Louisiana’s National Guard to respond to future state emergencies. 

Governor Landry was expected to present his proposal for the 2024-2025 state budget to Louisiana lawmakers on Thursday afternoon.

Last Sunday, Landry was one of a dozen Republican governors who toured the border in Eagle Pass, Texas, last weekend. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has sparred with federal border authorities and the Biden administration over what they believe are failed border policies. The governors received a briefing at DPS headquarters on Operation Lone Star.

At the time Gov. Landry reaffirmed his support of Texas as a good neighbor.

“When in trouble, our neighbors in Texas have always opened their arms to us. Now it’s time we return the favor,” Landry said in a statement. “I look forward to working with our legislative leadership to find a way to send our National Guard troops to the southern border to support Texas. The rule of law must be enforced.”

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