Governor Bill Lee announced Wednesday evening that he authorized the deployment of 100 Tennessee National Guard troops to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

“America continues to face an unprecedented border crisis that threatens our nation’s security and the safety of Tennesseans,” Lee said in a statement. “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 100 Tennessee troops, according to the governor’s office, will deploy at the end of May to provide the following support along the U.S. southern border:

  • Patrolling and providing additional security presence along the border
  • Assisting road and route clearance, barrier placement and debris removal
  • Staffing outpost operations

Lee’s announcement comes one week after he and fellow Republican governors released a statement vowing to “stand ready to protect the U.S.-Mexico border and keep families safe.”

The announcement also comes days after Lee joined Texas Governor Greg Abbott at a Monday border security briefing in Austin. Abbott invited states to support “Operation Lone Star” to secure the U.S. southern border following the end of Title 42.

“The men and women of the Tennessee National Guard are always ready to serve their country anywhere, anytime,” Brigadier General Warner Ross, Tennessee’s adjutant general, added in a statement. “These troops are a capable contingent that will continue our long-standing tradition of responding to the call to aid our fellow Americans. The Tennessee National Guard is proud to serve and support our state partners in safeguarding the United States along the U.S. Southern border.”

This is not the first time the Tennessee National Guard has supported border security efforts. In December 2021, Lee authorized the deployment of 50 additional troops to respond to the surge in illegal crossings and drug-related activity along the U.S. Southern border, as previously reported by The Tennessee Star.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Background Photo “Bill Lee” by Bill Lee.