NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Lee authorized the deployment of 100 Tennessee National Guard troops to the U.S. southern border Thursday morning.
The deployment comes amid an "ongoing national security crisis and surging drug crisis being fueled by an open border," a release from the governor's office said.
The announcement follows a joint statement from Lee and other Republican governors last week and a border security briefing in Texas where Gov. Greg Abbott invited states to support 'Operation Lone Star' following the end of Title 42.
“America continues to face an unprecedented border crisis that threatens our nation’s security and the safety of Tennesseans,” Lee said. “The federal government owes Americans a plan to secure our country, and in the meantime, states continue to answer this important call to service. I am again authorizing the Tennessee National Guard to help secure the southern border, and I commend these troops for providing critical support.”
The number of migrant encounters by U.S. border agents has dropped from about 11,000 the Tuesday and Wednesday before Title 42 expired to about 4,400 each day, according to NBC News.
Tennessee National Guard members will deploy at the end of May. At the border, troops will:
- Patrol and provide additional security presence
- Assist in road and route clearance, barrier placement and debris removal
- Staff outpost operations
This is not the first time Lee has sent troops south. In December 2021, he authorized 50 Tennessee National Guard troops to aid in border patrol.