The chaotic situation at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas has spurred Gov. Greg Abbott to ask for help from outside sources.
Last month, Abbott, along with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, formally requested assistance from every state through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which allows states to share resources during a crisis.
States that have answered the Texas governor’s call for support include Florida, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Ohio, Arkansas and Georgia.
And aid is arriving in the form of National Guard troops or law enforcement personnel.
“Things got so bad that county judges, the lead officials in border regions-counties, for the first time ever they asked me to declare a disaster,” said Abbott in a border security briefing with former President Donald Trump on June 30.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced on June 29 that up to 50 South Dakota Guardsmen would be sent to the Lone Star State to assist the Texas Army National Guard and state and local police agencies in protecting the border. The deployment is slated for 30-60 days.
“The Biden Administration has failed in the most basic duty of the federal government: keeping the American people safe,” said Noem in a press release issued on June 29. “The border is a national security crisis that requires the kind of sustained response only the National Guard can provide. 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. My message to Texas is this: help is on the way.”
However, South Dakota’s taxpayers won’t be footing the bill for the deployment of its guardsmen out of state. The duty mission will be underwritten by donations. Willis and Reba Johnson’s Foundation made a direct contribution to South Dakota, said governor spokesperson Ian Fury in an email sent to Reserve & National Guard Magazine. Willis Johnson, a Tennessee billionaire, has been a benefactor to Republican politicians.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson agreed to send approximately 40 Guard members on a 90-day deployment to Texas. Their role will primarily consist of vehicle maintenance and mechanical support reported the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
“I have authorized this mission in response to an official request from Texas on the urgent matter at our southern border,” Hutchinson said in a June 30 press release. “My hope is that our 90 days of support will improve the security of our country and reduce the adverse impact of illegal immigration on Arkansas.”
Abbott said Texas’s Operation Lone Star — comprised of the state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers and Texas Army National Guard troops — has made nearly 1,800 arrests for criminal violations that fall outside of illegal entry. He added that 40,000 immigrants have been apprehended, and 41 stash houses raided.
“We’re not going to be involved in catch and release … this isn’t going to be the red-carpet treatment that the Biden Administration has rolled out,” Abbott said in the briefing while directing glances at Trump. “This is going to be time in jail.”
Concerns about the rise in fentanyl trafficking and the drug’s availability are a driving factor in the increased state government presence along the border.
A recent press release issued by the Iowa Governor’s Office stated that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data showed the year-over-year fentanyl seizures in March and May of 2021 increased 233% and 300%, respectively.
And Abbot is building a wall. Texas is investing $250 million — and crowdsourcing funds — to construct a wall after the Biden Administration ceased all work on Trump’s wall.
Both Abbott and Trump see the wall as an effective stop-gap to illegal entry and contraband smuggling. The former president seemed to imply that foreign prisons are releasing prisoners knowing that they’ll head to the border. Without alluding to specific countries, Trump said during the briefing with Abbott that countries are now opening up their jails.
“They’re opening up their prisons…and they’re letting all of their prisoners out. You notice their prison populations are way down … and they’re letting all of their murderers, rapists, drug dealers and human traffickers out, and they’re coming into the United States of America at a level like we’ve never seen.”Read comments