Kristi Noem to Governor Abbott: "Help is on the way", sends National Guard troops to Texas border

AP Photo/Stephen Groves File

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced Monday night that she will send fifty National Guard troops to Texas. Governor Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey asked other governors to help them secure the southern border in a letter on June 10. Several Republican governors have answered the plea for help. Noem is the latest to make such an announcement.

In the June 10 letter, Abbott and Ducey invoked the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which allows states to receive help from other states in a time of emergency. As the two governors reminded the others, Texas and Arizona are ground zero for the Biden border crisis but other states will be stuck dealing with spillover effects like human trafficking and drugs including fentanyl as the crisis continues to grow.

“Given the staggering number of violations now occurring in Texas and Arizona, additional manpower is needed from any state that can spare it,” the letter said. “With your help, we can apprehend more of these perpetrators of state and federal crimes, before they can cause problems in your state.”

Besides law enforcement, the two states are searching for other law enforcement resources, including helicopters and drones.

The governors have decided to arrest illegal migrants for criminal trespassing and smuggling. Out-of-state law enforcement can operate in Texas and Arizona the same as all other domestic law enforcement personnel. They will have the power to make arrests.

Noem’s announcement came on the same day that Texas Democrats in Congress were trying to stop Governor Abbott from using COVID-19 recovery funds for the border wall. Abbott pledged to continue to build the wall. One of the first things Joe Biden did when he entered office was to put a halt to the new construction of the border wall. The federal government is sending Texas more than $15 billion in COVID relief funding. Texas Democrats want assurance that Abbott will not be allowed to use any of that money for the wall.

Every Texas Democrat in Congress signed a letter on Monday urging Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to take steps to block Abbott from using COVID relief funding on border barriers, asking her to issue a formal rule making clear that recovery funding “cannot be used for a border wall, fence, or similar installation.” They also say the Treasury needs to make rules ensuring the money can’t be used to replenish state funding spent on a border barrier.

“With no Republican support, we approved $350 billion in the American Rescue Plan for eligible state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to assist local leaders, who confronted pandemic challenges, and to assist with economic and job recovery,” the 13 Texas Democrats in Congress wrote in a letter to Yellen. “We are concerned by the prospect of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s potential misuse of these funds to continue the misguided plans of President Trump to extend a wall along the border between Texas and Mexico.”

Texas Democrats are no more serious about securing the border of their own state than is the Biden administration. Also on Monday, Abbott revised the border crisis disaster declaration originally issued in May. He made the revision to make sure that the 28 counties that have declared disasters and agree to partner with the governor on border security measures will have the resources and support they need. These counties agree to arrest and detain illegal migrants for crimes related to the border crisis.

“I am grateful for our local partners in our South Texas and border communities who are willing to work alongside the State to keep Texans safe and secure the border,” said Governor Abbott. “This amended declaration will ensure that resources and support are surged where they are needed most.”

Abbott also tweeted out about the border barrier construction now underway, irritating the open borders advocates.