Texas Army builds ‘temporary’ border fences in Del Rio with plans for entire state border


1,500 soldiers will help Del Rio, many will build fences

WESLACO, Texas (Border report) – The Texas Military Department, which includes National Guard units, has built miles of “temporary” wire fencing on private borders in the Del Rio area, officials said Thursday, adding it could be extended to other parts of the state border with Mexico. .

Lt. Col. Rodney Kelley, director of military training and operations for the Texas Military Department, said the agency has already built 3 miles of border fencing and is ramping up crews and production to complete “a quarter mile half a mile ”a day in the future, he told Border Report.

The project began in June and is in conjunction with the Texas Department of Public Service, and under the leadership of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who at a June 10 border security summit in Del Rio announced that the ‘State’ would build border barriers; some will be built immediately.

This DPS inset graphic shows the barbed wire mesh on top that the Texas Military Division is building in conjunction with the DPS in Del Rio, TX. (Graph by DPS)

The 9- or 10-foot metal fences, with special security items on top, are built with employees and engineers from the Texas Military Department, which is made up of three branches of the military; Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard, and Texas State Guard. And it’s done with public funds approved by the 2021 legislature, Kelley told Border Report.

This is “specifically to protect Texas and their property, their personnel,” Kelley said during a press briefing Thursday at the DPS regional office in the town of Weslaco, in south Texas, where officials have passed through the recent wave of soldiers from the DPS and other law enforcement agencies. to the remote border town of Del Rio.

Lt. Col. Rodney Kelley, director of military training and operations for the Texas Military Department, left, speaks to the media September 30, 2021, in Weslaco, Texas, with DPS Regional Director Victor Escalon. (Sandra Sanchez / Border Report)

Kelley said the project started in June and started with a single unit, but this week has grown to two shifts and is expected to grow to 12 shifts within the month who will actively seek private land and permission from landowners to build them. private fencing at the top.

He said “1,500 more troops will be flocking to the area over the next four weeks,” many to help build the fence.

“This will allow us to serve multiple locations and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of some of these construction projects that we are doing,” said Kelley. “We’re working hand in hand with DPS to find the right areas, the right places where we need to build and to get the spin and support they need. “

A soldier from the Texas Military Division stands next to an armored unit at the border fence in Del Rio, Texas, September 19, 2021, guarding an area where 15,000 migrants, mostly Haitians, lived under the international bridge. (Sandra Sanchez / Frontier Report File Photo)

The fence is called “temporary” and does not have the same height or the same thick metal posts as the federal border wall. But Kelley says this will deter migrants from crossing and that “No Trespassing” signs will be posted prominently throughout the fence – which is a legal condition for charging migrants with illegal trespassing, like Abbott l ‘ordered in June.

And an important distinction is that this fence is built very close to the Rio Grande.

Each landowner signs a contract with Kelley’s team and he says they are working to adjust the fence height, length and barriers needed to make it also accessible to the landowner or farmer.

The announcement was made during a DPS briefing in which officials discussed Operation Lone Star, which is led by the DPS and the Texas Division of Emergency Management and has dispatched 1,000 troops and ranger units. at the border, especially hundreds over the past two weeks in Del Rio.

On September 30, 2021, DPS Regional Director Victor Escalon provides an update on Operation Lone Star in Weslaco, Texas. (Sandra Sanchez / Border Report)

Since Operation Lone Star began in March, the DPS has made 964 arrests for criminal trespassing and has apprehended and referred more than 144,000 migrants to the US border patrol, said DPS regional director Victor Escalon.

Sirene Shebaya, executive director of the National Immigration Project at the National Lawyers Guild, on Thursday called Operation Lone Star a “racist and despicable program”.

She said it was “a general violation of peoples’ rights through arrests”.

Kelley said the Texas Army currently has 40 armored humvees in Del Rio and has “pre-installed” an additional 70 humvees with 400 troops in the Rio Grande Valley “to ensure we have additional assets if any. thing like that was happening again “.


Comments are closed.