On Jan. 25, 2024, a viral rumor began to spread online that claimed some Republican governors of U.S. states were sending brand-new deployments of their state National Guard units to aid Texas in its effort to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.
The rumor was posted (archived) by the @NewsWire_US account and included a map with 15 states highlighted: "Governors from 15 states have now announced support for Texas in its border dispute with the federal government, with some sending National Guard units." The following day, a metric under the post showed it had been viewed 14 million times.
The post's mention of a border dispute concerned an ever-evolving saga that was underway in January 2024 involving Texas, President Joe Biden's administration, Republican governors and the U.S. Supreme Court. The dispute was over the fact that federal Border Patrol agents were being blocked by Texas state officials from accessing a historically busy migrant entry point along the southern border.
The claim in the post on X was virally shared on Reddit – either as text or a screenshot of the post – with the headline, "LET'S F---ING GO." It was also shared on Instagram, LinkedIn, iFunny.co and at least one message board.
Hours after the first post, the @NewsWire_US account posted (archived), "UPDATE - 25 Republican governors issue a joint statement in support of Texas in its border dispute with the federal government, Vermont's governor was the lone exception."
It's true that 25 Republican governors signed a joint statement of "solidarity" on Jan. 25, 2024, in support of the state of Texas and its elected leader, Gov. Greg Abbott, in regard to a dispute at the U.S.-Mexico border.
However, as of Jan. 25 – the day the rumor began spreading on X – we were unable to uncover any information indicating any Republican governors had issued new orders to deploy state National Guard units to the border.
Further, missing from the posts on X that discussed the fact that the phrase "civil war" was trending with this subject was the fact that a majority of the Republican governors who signed the joint statement had, in the past, sent relatively small numbers of their individual state National Guard units to the southern border. Some of those service members remained in Texas as of January 2024.
It's possible that some of the Republican governors who signed the statement might in the days and weeks following Jan. 25 order fresh deployments of their state National Guard units to aid Texas in its border security efforts. Former President Donald Trump posted on his Truth Social platform on Jan. 25, "We encourage all willing states to deploy their guards to Texas to prevent the entry of illegals, and to remove them back across the border."
Snopes reached out to @NewsWire_US to ask for evidence that states had sent new deployments of state National Guard units to Texas, as some social media users sharing the post had interpreted it that way. In response, @NewsWire_US sent only information about deployments that occurred before January 2024.
Let's look at the facts of the case in more detail.
The Border Dispute in Shelby Park
Earlier in January 2024, the Texas Military Department began blocking federal Border Patrol agents from accessing a park named Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, Texas.
Texas officials' installation of concertina wire, commonly known as razor wire, prevented federal border agents from accessing to the park, which is situated along the Rio Grande and had been a busy entry point for migrants crossing from Mexico into the U.S. The razor wire had been the subject of reports of bloodied migrants who had sustained wounds and broken bones, including a 19-year-old woman who was found cut by the wire and having a miscarriage.
According to The Associated Press, Texas' action to block access to the city-owned park was carried out despite the fact that the area had experienced a "sharp decrease" in the number of migrants crossing the border earlier in January. At the same time, however, border agents had recorded an all-time monthly high number of migrants crossing the southern border into the U.S. in December. The majority of the crossings occurred in the Tucson, Arizona, and Del Rio, Texas, areas.
Renae Eze, a spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, said in a public statement on Jan. 11, "Texas will continue to deploy Texas National Guard soldiers, DPS troopers and more barriers, utilizing every tool and strategy to respond to President Biden’s ongoing border crisis."
As Snopes previously reported, the U.S. Supreme Court got involved in the dispute after the Justice Department asked the high court to order Texas to stop blocking access for Border Patrol agents.
On Jan. 22, 2024, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that Border Patrol agents would be allowed to resume cutting the nearly 30 miles of razor wire that the state had installed near Eagle Pass. The ruling came after a federal appeals court in December forced the Border Patrol to stop cutting the wire, the AP reported.
"Texas' political stunts, like placing razor wire near the border, simply make it harder and more dangerous for frontline personnel to do their jobs," White House spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández said, in a statement also previously reported by the AP.
For his part, Abbott, on Jan. 24, released a statement declaring Texas' "constitutional right to self-defense" given that "President Biden has violated his oath to faithfully execute immigration laws enacted by Congress."
25 Republican Governors Signed Letter Supporting Texas
On Jan. 25, the Republican Governors Organization published a joint statement, naming 25 Republican governors who confirmed their "support of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas' constitutional right to self-defense."
"We stand in solidarity with our fellow Governor, Greg Abbott, and the State of Texas in utilizing every tool and strategy, including razor wire fences, to secure the border," the statement read. "We do it in part because the Biden Administration is refusing to enforce immigration laws already on the books and is illegally allowing mass parole across America of migrants who entered our country illegally."
The 25 governors who issued the statement were Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen, Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon.
As of Jan. 26, the only other Republican governor whose name was missing from the letter was Vermont Gov. Phil Scott.
Previous State National Guard Deployments
Some of the Republican governors who signed the January 2024 joint statement previously sent relatively small deployments of their state National Guard units to assist with border security, including Ivey, Dunleavy, Sanders, DeSantis, Kemp, Reynolds, Reeves, Parson, Gianforte, Pillen, Sununu, Burgum, DeWine, Stitt, McMaster, Noem, Lee, Cox, Youngkin and Justice.
In DeWine's case, he posted on X that some Ohio National Guard members deployed to the southern border in October 2023 remained there as of late January 2024.
Meanwhile, on Jan. 26, both DeSantis and Stitt were both reportedly considering sending additional state service members to Texas. At press time, neither governor had made a formal announcement confirming such deployments.
The number of state National Guard service members that each of the Republican governors previously deployed to the border ranged from as few as four or 10 to as many as several hundred. This numerical information was absent from many of the posts that attempted to frame the U.S-Texas border protection dispute as a "civil war." For reference, more than 3 million men fought in the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865.