Army Times reports that the tuition assistance slashes are particularly devastating because the aid is one major reason why many join the National Guard in the first place. “Before the cuts, the state offered $4,500 in reimbursement per semester to virtually all Texas Guard troops who were working full-time towards their first undergraduate degree or their first graduate or professional degree.” Army Times says that budget has been slashed from over $3 million during the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years to just $1.4 million for the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years.
It’s a pittance compared to the massive sums of money being wasted at the southern border just so Abbott can win his primary challenge, because that’s the reason why this border stunt is happening (though Greg has also made perfectly clear his disdain for immigrants). Meanwhile, Texas “now only has the money to make $1,000 awards to 714 students against a total Texas National Guard end strength of more than 20,000 troops,” Army Times continued. Graduate students are expected to receive no aid at all.
“@GovAbbott, why don’t you tell Texans how you’re paying for this misguided and costly deployment of the Texas National Guard?” tweeted El Paso Rep. Veronica Escobar. “By gutting tuition assistance for guardsmen and women by OVER HALF.” One unnamed student told Army Times that he had to pull out of the fall semester in order to be sent to the border. “Cutting my TA by half probably means I’m gonna have to take some private loans to pay for school,” he said in the report. “Fuck this.” Agreed.
As previously noted, asylum-seekers have been locked up under Abbott’s scheme for weeks and months without any charges, resulting in a court ordering the release of roughly 250 men last month. But just when we thought Abbott’s scheme was reprehensible, we were really only scratching the surface. The Texas Tribune reported that just days after those court-ordered releases, a prosecutor dropped charges against another 11 men. What happened? The men said that officers zip-tied their hands, forced them to climb 10-foot-fencing onto private property, then arrested them for trespassing.
The Texas Tribune reported that the 11 men “were expected to be sent back to Val Verde County and handed over to CBP officials for processing,” according to Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s Kristin Etter. Two other asylum-seekers, Ivan Nava and David Muñoz, should have been released after their charges were dismissed. But they were also turned over to border agents. “By Friday afternoon, an attorney for the men was chasing a bus to Val Verde County, about three hours from the prison,” NBC News reported. “By the time she reached the county, she learned they had been turned over to Customs and Border Protection.”
“Army Times spoke with soldiers on the border who said that in some cases, they had less than a week’s notice to settle their civilian affairs and report for border duty,” the outlet continued in its report on benefit slashes. “The mission will last for months, the soldiers said, but it was not immediately clear how long the state intends to keep them at the border.” Until Abbott gets through his primary is a good guess.