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Texas will build a base camp for more than 2,000 soldiers on the border

A screenshot of Abbott's livestream on Facebook shows the governor and Texas National Guard troops in Maverick County, Texas.
Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas National Guard troops in Maverick County on Feb. 16, 2024 during the announcement of a new state military base camp near Eagle Pass.

The Texas National Guard will expand its presence on the border in the form of a new operations center in Maverick County that can house more than 2,000 soldiers.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced the construction of a base camp, which will be built on 80 acres of property near the banks of the Rio Grande, Friday afternoon.

“This will increase the ability for a larger number of Texas Military Department personnel in Eagle Pass to operate more efficiently and more effectively,” Abbott said during a news conference.

It marks the latest escalation of Abbott’s border security mission, Operation Lone Star, which he initiated almost three years ago and has cost the state billions in taxpayer dollars to sustain. The Texas Legislature appropriated an additional $5.1 billion for border security operations during last year’s legislature, but the cost of the governor’s new project wasn’t mentioned.

The facility will house up to 1,800 guard members with the possibility to increase capacity to 2,300 if the state has “surge needs.”

Abbott said the facility will have individual rooms for soldiers, dining halls, recreation areas and computer labs and will improve living conditions for the troops, adding that the facility will enable easier expansion of the state’s mission.

“Before this effort here, they've been living in conditions that were atypical for military operations. Now, because of the magnitude of what we're doing, because of the need to sustain — and actually expand — our efforts, it's essential that we build this base camp for these soldiers,” he said. “It’s going to be good for them.”

Eagle Pass and the surrounding area has for several weeks been the epicenter of Abbott’s feud with the Biden administration over border security and immigration. In early January, the state took over control of Shelby Park in Eagle Pass and has since rejected efforts by U.S. Border Patrol agents to enter the area and perform their duties.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that federal agents should have access to the banks of the river and be able to cut through miles of razor wire installed during Operation Lone Star, but the agents remain restricted from entering the area.

The complex should be completed by fall, according to a timeline offered by major General Thomas Suelzer. He said the facility will have a 300-bed capacity by mid-April and capacity for 300 additional beds will be added every 30 days after that.

Got a tip? Email Julián Aguilar at can follow Julián on Twitter @nachoaguilar.

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