ST. LOUIS—After spending the day at the Texas-Mexico border with fellow Republican governors of more than a dozen states, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Sunday night that he plans to send personnel and resources to work under a multibillion-dollar border security effort led by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott known as Operation Lone Star.

Two Missouri National Guard units made up of a total of roughly 250 members, are currently working under a federal deployment to assist Border Patrol with law enforcement. 

What You Need To Know

  • Missouri Gov. Mike Parson traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border in Eagle Pass, Texas, Sunday along with governors from 12 other states to get a briefing on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's work to secure the state's border with Mexico

  • Roughly 250 Missouri National Guard units are already working under a federal deployment to assist the U.S. Border Patrol

  • Parson said that on Monday he would begin the process of working with Abbott's Operation Lone Star to put "boots on the ground and be able to help even more than what we already have," but did not lay out specifics behind a possible deployment

  • Missouri Democrats criticized the trip to Texas as political theater and called on Parson to urge the GOP delegation in Congress to support a bipartisan proposal on border security in a statement that was released before the bill's language was Sunday night

“I think there’s no question whatsoever that the border has to be secured and I do believe at this point that the president and what’s going on in Washington, D.C. is not going to be able to help secure the border at this point,” Parson said in a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Sunday night.

“So tomorrow we will start the process of working with the Operation Lone Star to be able to put boots on the ground and be able to help even more than what we already have. We currently have National Guard members in Texas but we are currently going to do more to help Operation Lone Star. We do believe that the border can be secured and Governor Abbott has proven that,” he said.

Monday morning, a Parson spokesperson cautioned that the governor's announcement did not promise additional National Guard units specifically, the state could end up sending other personnel and resources in addition to or instead of more National Guard units. 

The governor’s announcement came hours after the members of the U.S. Senate released the text of a $118 billion bill that pairs border security with aid for Ukraine and Israel, which quickly ran into opposition from House leadership, including Speaker Mike Johnson who called the bill “dead on arrival” if it gets out of the Senate and reaches the House.

President Joe Biden said the immigration system has been broken for too long and it’s time to fix it.

“It will make our country safer, make our border more secure, treat people fairly and humanely while preserving legal immigration, consistent with our values as a nation,” the Democratic president said.

The proposal would overhaul the asylum system with faster and tougher enforcement, as well as give presidents new powers to immediately expel migrants if authorities become overwhelmed with the number of people applying for asylum. The new bill would also invest in U.S. defense manufacturing, send $14 billion in military aid to Israel, steer nearly $5 billion to allies in the Asia-Pacific, and provide humanitarian assistance to civilians caught in conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.

In a bid to overcome opposition from House Republicans, McConnell had insisted last year that border policy changes be included in the national security funding package. However, in an election-year shift on immigration, Biden and many Democrats have embraced the idea of strict border enforcement, while Donald Trump and his allies have criticized the proposed measures as insufficient.

Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, said on social media, “I’ve seen enough. This bill is even worse than we expected, and won’t come close to ending the border catastrophe the President has created.”

Republicans have been reluctant to give Biden a political win on an issue they see as one of his biggest vulnerabilities and argue that presidents already have enough authority to curb illegal border crossings — a stance that would ensure immigration remains a major issue in the presidential election. Yet at the same time, House Republicans have also pushed for their own, stricter version of border security legislation.

That bill, which passed the House last year without a single Democratic vote, currently has no chance of gaining the Democratic support it would need in the Senate. 

In response to Gov. Parson's trip but before the border bill's language was released, Missouri Democrats criticized the travel as political theater. 

"Missourians are tired of self-serving politicians who would rather participate in a circus than do the hard work of governing," state Rep. Ashley Aune, the House Minority Whip, said in a statement. "To these politicians, our pain is their political strategy and America will continue to feel the consequences of their dysfunction as long as it scores them political points. Governor Parson should call on the Republican delegation in Congress to end the political theater and pass this bipartisan border deal."