South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced Tuesday she would send up to 50 National Guard troops to help secure the US-Mexico border amid a surge in illegal immigration.
“The Biden Administration has failed in the most basic duty of the federal government: keeping the American people safe,” Noem said in a statement. “The border is a national security crisis that requires the kind of sustained response only the National Guard can provide.”
Earlier this month, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey asked their fellow governors to send any law enforcement personnel and equipment that they could spare to the border region. Abbott and Ducey stated that officers would be deputized to arrest people caught illegally entering the US.
Since the June 10 letter from Abbott and Ducey, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts have all committed to sending state troopers and other law enforcement officers to the region.
Noem’s statement made a point of distinguishing between her decision to send National Guard troops and her fellow governors’ choice to send non-military forces.
“We should not be making our own communities less safe by sending our police or Highway Patrol to fix a long-term problem President Biden’s administration seems unable or unwilling to solve,” she said. “My message to Texas is this: help is on the way.”
Noem’s announcement came one day before former President Donald Trump is due to visit the border with Abbott, who declared a disaster in 34 counties along or near the border at the beginning of this month. Abbott has also announced plans to use state funds and private donations to construct a wall along the Texas border with Mexico.
The South Dakota National Guard deployment will last between 30 and 60 days and will be paid for by a private donation, Noem’s statement added.
Noem spokesman Ian Fury said the donation for the deployment came from Willis and Reba Johnson’s Foundation. Willis Johnson, a Tennessee-based founder of an online used car auction called Copart, regularly makes large contributions to Republicans, including $200,000 to the Trump Victory Committee last year.
Fury said “the governor welcomes any such donations to help alleviate the cost to South Dakota taxpayers,” but declined to provide estimates on the cost of the deployment, citing “security reasons.”
Meanwhile, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he has declined a request from Texas to provide state troopers. Hutchinson said sending National Guard troops was still an option and has asked the adjutant general of the Arkansas National Guard to evaluate that possibility.
“Because of the public safety needs we have here in Arkansas and because of the important work they’re doing here, I will not be sending the Arkansas State Police to the border,” he told reporters.
Abbott issued his disaster declaration days before US Customers and Border Protection (CBP) announced that more than 180,000 people were apprehended trying to cross the US-Mexico border in May, the most in a single month since April of 2000.
With Post wires