Gov. Pillen Announces Return Date of Deployed Soldiers

Governor Jim Pillen announced that 61 soldiers deployed to the southern border will return to Nebraska on Friday, Sept. 1. Members of the Nebraska Army National Guard have been in Texas since Aug. 2. Gov. Pillen joined Adjutant General Craig Strong for an in-person visit with the troops on Aug. 21.

“I know they will be happy to be reunited with their families,” said Gov. Pillen. “Every member has represented Nebraska well during this tour of duty. I appreciate their commitment to carrying the work necessary to support Operation Lone Star.”

Gov. Pillen called his trip to the U.S.- Mexico border on Monday “eye-opening.” Upon arrival in Del Rio, TX, he met with National Guard troops at Base Camp Alpha. Bags of Pipeline Jerky brought to Texas by Gov. Pillen were well-received by the soldiers. 

“I am proud of our soldiers. They took on this deployment with a positive attitude and a desire to perform at the highest level,” said Adjutant General Strong. “For many, it affirms the reason why they wanted to join the Guard – to make a difference for their country.”

Gov. Pillen traveled to Eagle Pass, TX where he joined Republican governors Greg Abbott (TX), Kristi Noem (SD), Kim Reynolds (IA) and Kevin Stitt (OK) for a series of border security briefings from Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, Texas Adjutant General Major General Thomas Suelzer and Texas Border Czar Mike Banks.

“It is becoming even more evident that President Biden and the Federal Government are not interested in addressing the growing issues at the border,” said Gov. Pillen. “The number of criminals arrested is going up every day. Illegal drug seizures are increasing.  We even saw video that clearly demonstrates the difficulties that law enforcement, border agents and troops are having in stemming the tide of drug cartel members entering this country.”

The group briefing was followed by a personal helicopter tour for each governor, which included a flyover of the border, including the Rio Grande River.

“During the ground briefing we were alerted to the fact that children are being used by the cartels to bring drugs into the U.S.,” said Gov. Pillen. “Based on what I witnessed, that is not an exaggeration. That is part of what makes this a dire humanitarian crisis.” 

Nebraska is one of 14 states sending troops and other resources to support Operation Lone Star. The other states are Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Texas.

“We are border states in that when problems are not stopped at the border, they become issues for other states to manage, even Nebraska,” said Gov. Pillen. “For example, 426 million lethal doses of fentanyl have been seized, enough to kill every individual in this country, including our kids. Imagine how many drugs have slipped through the cracks including fentanyl, methamphetamine and more. This is quite literally where we need to draw the line.”

In May, Texas Gov. Abbott sent letters to the nation’s governors requesting assistance following President Biden’s decision to end Title 42.

“I hope other states will recognize the urgency of this situation and will act accordingly to support Texas,” said Gov. Pillen.