DALLAS (NewsNation Now) — Texas has more National Guard members than any other state and there are reports some of them are facing pay delays.
About 10,000 members are working on Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, a program designed to deter illegal crossings at the southern border.
A new report by the Houston Chronicle says some of the guard members are working in deplorable conditions and that payment delays are starting to surface.
This week, a Republican candidate for governor alleged that soldiers have told him they don’t have the right kind of equipment, no individual first aid kits or body armor.
“Some of them are even down there with their own personal weapon,” said Republican gubernatorial candidate Allen West, who is running in a primary against Abbott. “There’s a shortage and a lack of ammunition. There are even instances where our men and women in uniform — since we don’t have porta potties — they’re actually just publicly going out and using the restroom. That is unconscionable to me.”
The Army Times has also reported that since November, there have been four confirmed suicides within the Texas guard.
West said Abbott and the guard rushed too quickly into political optics and that this is a failure.
A former senior leader of the Texas guard said some soldiers are still getting paper checks.
“A check is printed in Austin, put in an envelope, these envelopes are driven to the border, where soldiers receive them if they went to the right location,” said Jason Featherston, former Texas Army National Guard adviser. “Many reports say the envelopes are being driven to the wrong location and have to be driven from places like Del Rio or El Paso.”