So who’s paying for this? Normally, when Washington requests National Guard members at the border, Washington pays. Otherwise, state taxpayers are on the line for funding their National Guard and law enforcement like highway patrol. But in a bizarre and unprecedented turn of events, a billionaire Republican megadonor from Tennessee has paid for some of the deployment. Willis Johnson, through the Willis and Reba Johnson’s Foundation, donated $1 million directly to the state of South Dakota to fund National Guard troops on the border. Texas has also offered to reimburse at least some states who send law enforcement through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a preexisting resource-sharing agreement between states.
Is that even allowed? A state lawmaker says it’s legal, but security experts have called the moved unethical and dangerous. “You certainly don’t want our national security priorities up to the highest bidder,” Mandy Smithberger of the Project on Government Oversight told the Washington Post.
OK. But why is this all happening in the first place? Governors Abott and Doucey might genuinely feel that their states are in crisis. But yes, there are politics: The Republican Party’s midterm strategy is clearly going to be hammering Biden on his, in their words, “open-border policies.” Positioning truckloads of cops and National Guard on the border certainly helps create the appearance of crisis.