PA Senate Passes Resolution Urging Gov. Shapiro To Send Troops To Texas Border

There was debate on whether state troops should go to Texas.

By Peter Hall | Pennsylvania Capital-Star

Texas National Guard Soldiers deter two people from crossing the border of the U.S. and Mexico.
Credit: TMD

The Pennsylvania Senate on Tuesday passed a resolution urging Gov. Josh Shapiro to send Pennsylvania National Guard troops to guard the border between Texas and Mexico.

In an afternoon session when the chamber passed two other pieces of legislation — one naming a section of road for the late mayor of Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County — lawmakers spent more than an hour debating the resolution, introduced by state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin).

It passed with a 27-22 vote along party lines.

Republican State Sen. Frank Farry, of Langhorne Borough, voted in favor of the resolution, while Democratic State Sen. Steve Santarsiero, of Lower Makefield Township, voted against it.

The debate happened as the U.S. Supreme Court issued a preliminary ruling Tuesday that Texas can, for now, have state authorities deport people who cross the border seeking asylum in the United States.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been fighting the Biden administration since 2021 over its ability to secure its own border.

Texas has sent National Guard troops and state police to patrol the border with Mexico and Abbott has called on governors in other states to lend National Guard troops to help. Fourteen states have responded with help.

In response to the resolution, a spokesperson said Shapiro, the state’s commander in chief, has been clear that the United States needs a secure border and that Congress needs to pass comprehensive reform to fix the immigration system.

Gov. Shapiro meets with members of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard at Fort Indiantown Gap in May 2023.
Credit: Brad Rhen

“This issue requires leaders in both parties to step up and deliver real, comprehensive solutions – not more the failed talking points and political grandstanding that have brought us decades without immigration reform,” Shapiro spokesperson Manuel Bonder said.

Mastriano argued on Tuesday that undocumented immigration is as much a concern for Pennsylvania as it is for border states, placing a strain on public services and a threat to public safety. He added that Pennsylvania sending troops to Texas for border security is not without precedent.

In 2006, then-Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, authorized 500 Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers and airmen to deploy to the Texas border on a volunteer basis.

“The crisis now is even greater. I believe that securing our border is not a partisan issue. Instead of simply wringing our hands and saying this is the federal government’s problem, let’s act here as a general assembly and do our part,” Mastriano said.

State Sen. Doug Mastriano speaking to a supporter at a Bucks County event in 2022.
Credit: Tom Sofield/

Democratic senators said Abbott’s actions have been reckless, inhumane and unconstitutional and said 

“The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania should not and must not engage in supporting the reckless, irresponsible actions of a governor that is out of control and itself is in violation of the law,” Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) said, adding that the state’s resources should be directed toward solving problems that Pennsylvania residents face.

The resolution will be passed to the Democratic controlled state House.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

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