An event designed to highlight how Texas has filled the gap given the border security failures of the Biden administration instead illustrated how, Texas’ efforts notwithstanding, the current effort remains insufficient.

Thursday’s event, titled “Defending the Homeland: How Texas Can Secure the Border,” was hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. It featured Democrat State Rep. Richard Pena Raymond, who represents Laredo, and Ammon Blair, a former Border Patrol official who now works for TPPF.

The event began with a discussion of current challenges, and how the federal government is not doing its job. It also highlighted, the disproportionate role, beyond security issues, that South Texas plays in the United States’ economic fortunes. Raymond highlighted the importance of the World Trade Bridge in Laredo, which, if a bomb were to target it, could have devastating ramifications nationwide.

It was this gap that “Operation Lone Star,” the state’s primary border security effort, was intended to fill. Unfortunately, the details of how Texas’ resources are deployed leave much to be desired.

To begin, Texas only has 317 state guard members currently deployed to the border, an insufficient number.  While Texas does have access to National Guard and Reserve forces, those remain under dual command with the federal government. More to the point, those forces are trained for overseas combat operations, rather than homeland defense.

Blair explained, “The state of Texas no longer has a traditional militia that was set up for homeland defense.”

In contrast, Texas had a larger defense force during WWII than its current National Guard contingent. In addition, the “guard” designation brings logistical challenges. For example, National Guard members on Operation Lone Star only receive insurance coverage during ‘on duty’ hours, which restricts their ability to hold training sessions during ‘off duty’ hours. The guard also has other pay and benefit issues the legislature has yet to address.

While the future of border security will depend on the outcome of the current presidential race, border-related issues are likely to remain prominent at least through 2025.

The full event can be viewed here.

Adam Cahn

Adam is a longtime conservative activist and an avid UT and Yankees fan.