HARRISBURG – Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) – chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee – today called for Gov. Josh Shapiro to deploy Pennsylvania National Guard troops to Texas to support Operation Lone Star.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott initiated Operation Lone Star in March 2021 in response to the unprecedented rise in illegal immigration. Operation Lone Star personnel work to detect and repel illegal crossings, arrest human smugglers and cartel gang members, and stop the flow of deadly drugs like fentanyl.
“Reckless federal government policies have created a crisis at our nation’s southern border,” Mastriano said. “Every state is now a border state. Pennsylvania has a compelling interest to help secure the southern border of the United States. Fentanyl has flooded communities throughout our commonwealth, school districts are increasingly burdened, and strained social safety net funds are being diverted.”
According to a 2023 report, at least 251,000 illegal immigrants reside in Pennsylvania with an annual burden of more than $1.6 billion on taxpayers.
“Illegal immigration costs Pennsylvania taxpayers more than this year’s state budget allocated for the departments of Agriculture, Community and Economic Development, Conservation and Natural Resources, Drug and Alcohol Programs, Environmental Services, Health, Military and Veterans Affairs, Transportation, Labor and Industry, and State, and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency combined,” Mastriano said. “The cost of illegal immigration is more than double the size of the increase in spending for the Department of Education in this year’s state budget.”
In May 2023, Abbott sent letters to governors requesting support for Operation Lone Star. So far, 14 states – Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming – have responded and deployed personnel and resources to secure the border.
“Securing our border is a bipartisan priority,” Mastriano said. “I am calling on the governor to deploy National Guard troops and resources to assist with Operation Lone Star. The inaction of the federal government to secure Pennsylvanians from the influx of deadly drugs into our communities has made this necessary.
“More than 276 years ago, Benjamin Franklin founded what is now our National Guard to provide a common defense of Pennsylvania in times of crisis. The lawlessness on the U.S. southern border, and its impacts upon the people of Pennsylvania, constitutes a crisis that calls for this response.”
The Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee oversees the planning and activities of the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Media contact: Josh Herman