PHARR, Texas (AP/KXAN) — The Texas National Guard says at least two of its troops have requested financial assistance after deployment to the Texas-Mexico border in response to a surge of children pouring illegally into the United States.
Spokeswoman Lt. Col. Joanne MacGregor says the National Guard had initially identified 50 soldiers who might need financial help, but only two asked for help. These soldiers are part of the 1,000 troops ordered to the border in July by Gov. Rick Perry.
“Given the large influx of service members into the area over the past week, our Family Assistance Coordinator in the Rio Grande Valley was being extremely proactive in identifying possible assistance options for additional service members,” MacGregor said.
Family assistance coordinators help military members across Texas, regardless of deployment or duty status, she said.
According to the Texas National Guard, the two soldiers who requested support were previously unemployed service members. Both of those soldiers were provided assistance. MacGregor says the hardships some troops are experiencing could be due to the pay schedule as two or three weeks may pass before soldiers get their first paycheck.
The Texas National Guard says service members supporting Operation Strong Safety receive pay, allowance for housing, and per diem for meals on the normal state payroll schedule.
“Gov. Perry is confident the Guard stands ready to assist any soldier who may need it, regardless of deployment or duty status so they can meet the needs of their family, or the mission they are performing,” said Rich Parsons, a Perry spokesman.