Texas will need $1.35 billion more to keep thousands of National Guard troops stationed at the southern border for another year, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Maj. Gen. Thomas M. Suelzer, head of the Texas Military Department, told state Senate budget writers that current funding for the border security was expected to run out in September, the Morning News reported.
Suelzer told the Senate that the price "is not small" but the return on investment would be "significant."
"The question of what our presence on the border looks like next fiscal year is one we look forward to working with the Legislature to answer," Gov. Greg Abbott's policy and budget director, Sarah Hicks, told the state Senate Finance Committee.
The Morning News said Abbott's border security steps have cost more than $4 billion so far.
Some Republicans suggested that Texas move more quickly to erect border barriers and detain migrants in state jails, the Morning News reported.
"I would much rather use that border money for all the other things we need to be paying for, like education and health care and everything else, but we can't not protect our border," Sen. Jane Nelson, R, said.
Abbott, R-Texas, last week announced that the state's Public Safety Office will spend $30 million more on border security.
The governor in August authorized the Texas National Guard to arrest people who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border and violate state law. A month earlier, Abbott had ordered the Guard to help local law enforcement conduct such arrests.
In March 2021, Abbott launched Operation Lone Star to ramp up security along the southern border after saying the Biden administration was not doing its job in patrolling the border amid a surge in migrants.
The governor and top Republican state leaders have justified spending large amounts of money on security due to the spike in migrant crossings.
Civil rights groups and some Democrats have said Abbott's initiative jailed migrants without giving them adequate legal protections. The Department of Justice has launched an investigation, according to ProPublica.
U.S. border authorities stopped migrants more often on the southern border for a fourth straight month in May.
A report earlier this week said Border Patrol agents in Texas apprehended nearly 26,000 migrants during a six-day period that ended during the weekend.
Nearly 2 million migrants have been released into the U.S. under President Joe Biden, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.
Abbott in April announced that immigrants who have crossed the border into his state illegally will be bused to the steps of the U.S. Capitol as one of several measures designed to stem the tide of illegal crossings into his state.
Hicks told the finance committee that the busing initiative had given roughly 4,400 migrants a ride to the nation's capital at a cost of $1.5 million to the state.
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