White House to let governors address nation’s border security

World Net Daily

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Politics.]

By Philip Wegmann
Real Clear Politics

Republican governors can deploy their National Guard as they see fit, and if that includes sending them across state lines to the southern U.S. border, the White House won’t stop them.

“What to do with her National Guard is up to the governor and how to fund them is her prerogative as well,” a senior White House official told RealClearPolitics when asked Wednesday about South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s plan to send 50 guardsmen to the border on a mission funded by a private GOP donor. The administration will focus, the official added, “not on political gestures but rather on putting in the work and delivering the solutions.”

Ian Fury, a spokesman for Noem, responded in a statement to RCP that “securing the border is not a ‘political gesture’” and that the deployment was necessary because “unfortunately the Biden administration has failed to step up and fix this crisis.”

The back-and-forth comes after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott penned an open letter pleading with other states to send law enforcement and other resources to help their states patrol the border with Mexico.

Responding to the migrant surge, Abbott has declared a disaster in his state while Ducey declared a state of emergency. Both urged other governors to join them, writing that further mobilization of the National Guard is needed “to secure the border in the federal government’s absence, and now the Emergency Management Assistance Compact gives your State a chance to stand strong with us.”

The logic behind the request? “With your help, we can apprehend more of these perpetrators of state and federal crimes before they can cause problems in your state,” Abbott and Ducey wrote. The two asked specifically for an additional law enforcement presence as well as drones and helicopters.

Noem accepted that invitation Tuesday. But the close ally of former President Trump also raised eyebrows when she announced that the deployment “will be paid for by a private donation.”

The South Dakota deployment will be overseen by Texas officials, but it isn’t clear whether they will be welcome or will present a distraction from efforts already underway to address the surge. A White House official insisted that “the progress made at the southern border in the first 150 days under this administration is pretty clear,” adding that the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection would “continue to leverage their longstanding relationships with state and local law enforcement.”

According to CBP data first obtained by Axios, the number of migrants crossing the border illegally has already reached a 20-year high. Annual crossings in this fiscal year, with more than three months left to go, are higher than in any year since 2006 — nearly 900,000 migrants were stopped by the Border Patrol from October 2020 through May.

Democrats have already condemned the move to deploy National Guard from other states. Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick likened the call from Abbott and Ducey to “a continuation of the same inhumane border policies we saw over the last four years, which not only proved ineffective, but were antithetical to our values as Americans.”

“We must call this what it is,” the Democrat told the Arizona Republic earlier this month, “a political stunt that has no intention of solving the real issues that we’re seeing at our southern border.”

The order by Noem, specifically funding the deployment through a private donor, has raised ethical questions. “You certainly don’t want our national security priorities [left] up to the highest bidder,” Mandy Smithberger, a defense accountability expert at the Project on Government Oversight, told the Washington Post.

According to a Noem spokesman, the deployment will be bankrolled by the Willis and Reba Johnson’s Foundation, a conservative nonprofit in Tennessee that has funded numerous religious projects and the National Rifle Association. Willis Johnson, a longtime Trump supporter, told Washington Post that his motivations were simple: “I want to protect America and that’s it.”

Noem isn’t the only Republican believed to have an eye on the White House who is willing to lend a hand at the border. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced last week that his state would send 50 law enforcement officers to Texas to help with the influx of migrants. His office didn’t offer details about how the mission would be funded or what exactly the officers would be doing, citing the “security of the missions.”

“We look forward to seeing them in action,” DeSantis said Friday, adding that he hoped he would be able “to get out there at some point and wish them well when they are on the ground.”

The situation at the border has become a political flashpoint, with Republicans blasting Democrats for letting things get out of hand. On Wednesday, GOP House members led by the Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks arrived in McAllen, Texas, to meet with Trump in person.

“Biden is destroying our country,” the former president said Wednesday while speaking in front of an unfinished section of the border wall his administration funded. He took the opportunity to lay blame for the uptick in crossings on Biden’s decision to undo many of his policies, including the Remain in Mexico order that required migrants seeking asylum to wait in that country as their claim is being processed.

Those Republican attacks aren’t likely to stop anytime soon, even after Vice President Kamala Harris visited the border in person last week.

A spokesman for the Republican Governors Association blasted the administration for its “inaction,” telling RCP that “despite [officials’] comments, clearly they’ve been focused on the politics of the crisis at the border, avoiding taking real action to address the root cause because the liberal base won’t allow it.”

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Politics.]


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