February 17, 2024

Indiana National Guard Texas deployment to cost $7 million

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb shakes a Texas National Guard member’s hand. He stood in a Feb. 4, 2024 border-centric news conference in Eagle Pass, Texas, with several other Republican governors. (Courtesy Governor’s Office)

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb shakes a Texas National Guard member’s hand. He stood in a Feb. 4, 2024 border-centric news conference in Eagle Pass, Texas, with several other Republican governors. (Courtesy Governor’s Office)

The Indiana National Guard expects to spend about $7.1 million deploying 50 soldiers to the U.S-Mexico border at Texas for up to 10 months.

Master Sgt. Jeff Lowry, the guard’s spokesman, told the Capital Chronicle the costs include pay and allowances, accommodations, transportation, supplies and maintenance.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and a growing number of Republican governors — including Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb — say President Joe Biden’s administration isn’t doing enough to stem the flow of unauthorized migrants. Texas and the federal government are clashing over a recent U.S. Supreme Court order on razor wire, access to a park along the border and more.

Holcomb announced Indiana’s deployment last Friday, after a “recent direct request” from Abbott. Nearly a dozen other states have guard soldiers in Texas or have pledged to send some, according to the right-wing Texas Scorecard.

Holcomb declares solidarity with Texas border strategy

Indiana’s soldiers are mobilizing and will have a week of training at Camp Atterbury on the “operations of the mission.” Lowry said the guard is first taking volunteers for the mission.

The soldiers are expected to arrive in Texas in mid-March. They’re being called up under State Active Duty, meaning the state of Indiana pays their salaries. An earlier statement from the guard said it had sufficient funds to cover the costs.

It isn’t the first time that Indiana National Guard members have been deployed outside the Indiana border.

In 2021, the guard was sent on federal detail to Washington D.C. to help secure the U.S. Capitol during the presidential inauguration. At other times, soldiers have been sent to other states to help with the aftermath of natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

Numerous Republican policy leaders have said they “fully support” Holcomb’s decision in constituent newsletters.

State Sen. Andy Zay, R-Huntington, said he “proudly” backed the deployment in a statement last week, adding, “The brave men and women in our National Guard made a commitment to serve when duty calls, and I am grateful for their bravery as they head to Texas to protect our nation and take efforts to secure the border.”

Democrats have criticized the move.

“Gov. Holcomb using Hoosier National Guardsmen as political props is a shameful move,” State Rep. Kyle Miller, D-Fort Wayne said in a statement last week. “This border controversy is a longstanding culture war and dog-whistle continuously initiated by Republicans from around the country. … It should always be a last resort to send troops away from their homes and families, and the issues happening at the border do not warrant Hoosiers being called to action.

Indiana Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Indiana Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Niki Kelly for questions: info@indianacapitalchronicle.com. Follow Indiana Capital Chronicle on Facebook and Twitter.

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