AUSTIN, Texas (NewsNation) — The Texas National Guard is sending tank-like vehicles to the U.S.-Mexico border in an effort to turn back immigrants seeking to enter the U.S. illegally.
According to The Texas Military Department, The Texas National Guard is sending 10 “M113 Armored Personnel Carriers to the southern Texas-Mexico,” the department confirmed to NewsNation.
Production of the 14-ton vehicles was discontinued by the U.S. Army in 2007 after being used in several armed conflicts, including the Vietnam War, the Iraq War and the war in Afghanistan.
“These actions are part of a larger strategy to use every available tool to fight back against the record-breaking level of illegal immigration,” said a Texas Military Department spokesperson. “The Texas National Guard is taking unprecedented measures to safeguard our border and to repel and turn-back immigrants trying to cross the border illegally.”
About 50 soldiers will be trained to operate the vehicles, which will be stationed at 10 locations across the Texas-Mexico border. According to The Texas Tribune, the order was issued Thursday as part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s open-ended Operation Lone Star.
Ron Vitiello, a former U.S. Border Patrol chief and retired U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director, told NewsNation he believes the move won’t do much to prevent migrants from crossing the border.
“Is it really going to make a big difference? Not a lot,” he said. “But it’s another demonstration of where [Gov. Greg Abbott] is trying to call attention to this problem — where the federal government has failed to have policies that protect that border and to try to slow down this surge.”