South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem Sending National Guard To Border 'Warzone'

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has ordered the state’s National Guard troops to deploy to the southern border to help Texas deal with record-shattering waves of illegal immigration.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the National Rifle Association annual convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas on May 27, 2022. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Ms. Noem, a Republican, said that 60 South Dakota National Guard soldiers will deploy to the U.S.-Mexico border later this spring, on a rolling basis over a period of three months.

The border in a warzone, so we’re sending soldiers,” Ms. Noem said in a Feb. 20 statement.

South Dakota was the first state to deploy National Guard troops in response to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s call two-and-a-half years ago for help securing the border.

Ms. Noem said the National Guard troops will assist with construction of a border wall.

“These soldiers’ primary mission will be construction of a wall to stem the flow of illegal immigrants, drug cartels, and human trafficking into the United States of America,” she said.

The newly announced deployment will be South Dakota’s fifth since Mr. Abbott issued the call for help.

“Texas—with the support of America’s Governors—will fight to do the job Biden refuses to do,” Mr. Abbott said in a post on X, in which he noted that the U.S. Constitution gives states the right to “secure our borders against invasion.”

Amid a surge in illegal immigration, Mr. Abbott in September declared an “invasion” at the southern border. He then ordered the Texas National Guard and state law enforcement agencies to secure the border, including by setting up razor wire and marine barriers.

The Biden administration sued Texas, leading the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that federal agents could remove the razor wire.

It’s estimated that over 10 million illegal immigrants have crossed the border since President Joe Biden took office.

Texas Fights Back

Texas officially started building its own state-funded border wall in December 2021, when Mr. Abbott alleged that President Joe Biden “refuses to enforce laws passed by Congress to secure the border and enforce immigration laws” and so “Texas is stepping up to do the federal government’s job.”

That came after President Biden signed an executive order scrapping federal construction of a border wall, a signature project of former President Donald Trump. In a proclamation on Jan. 20, 2021, President Biden called the wall a “waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security.”

Following President Biden’s decision to axe the wall, Mr. Abbott announced he would seek funding for his state to build its own border barrier, which came as the influx of illegal immigrants into Texas swelled to near-record proportions.

Roughly 450 miles of the larger border wall were built under President Trump, a project that was criticized by President Biden, though an internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo contradicted this view, finding that physical barriers  are the most cost-effective tool to deter illegal border-crossing activity.

President Biden has taken a dim view of his predecessor’s vision for a grand barrier, pledging while still a presidential candidate in 2020 that “there will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration.”

On the day that he took office, President Biden issued a proclamation that rescinded the national emergency declaration that President Trump had relied on to divert some $10 billion from Pentagon coffers to border wall construction.

The Biden administration later quietly auctioned off millions of dollars of border wall materials, for which it faced sharp criticism from Republican circles.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) sponsored a bill in May 2023 that would force the Pentagon to allow millions of dollars worth on unused border wall parts to be used to extend the wall in Texas and elsewhere along the southern border.

Mr. Wicker’s legislative proposal (pdf) came after an investigation by the Armed Services Committee found that the Pentagon was spending $47 million per year to store the wall panels and other elements.

Amid reports that the Biden administration was busy selling off border wall parts rather than allowing them to be used to build more barrier, Mr. Wicker called the development “outrageous, behind-the-scenes maneuvering.”

“This sale is a wasteful and ludicrous decision by the Biden administration that only serves as further proof they have no shame,” he told The New York Post.

In October 2013, the Biden administration did an about-face of sorts, waiving 26 federal laws in South Texas to allow for the construction of another 20 miles of border wall.

President Biden explained at the time that the reason for resuming border wall construction was because the money had already been appropriated and attempts to redirect the funds to other projects failed.

“There’s nothing under the law other than they have to use the money for what it was appropriated for. I can’t stop that,” President Biden said at the time.

Asked by reporters if he thought border wall was effective, he replied “no.”

A coalition of 27 states has formed to support Texas’s right to defend itself after the Supreme Court ruled that federal agents can remove the razor wire put up by Texas to prevent the flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico.

Other States Send Troops

A handful of other states have sent National Guard troops to Texas to bolster local efforts to secure the southern border amid the Lone Star State’s ongoing dispute with the Biden administration over border security.

In a recent move, Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry, a Republican, said on Feb. 8 that his state would send 150 National Guard troops, who would work in three 50-man rotations, for a 90-day deployment to Texas.

“Because the president will not do his job, because the federal government will not act, because Congress refuses to put in place a solid immigration plan that protects this country and allows people to come in and out of this country the way that it’s been done since the beginning, then the states are going to act,” he said at a press conference in Baton Rouge.

The deployment—scheduled for March at a cost of roughly $3 million—is needed to help Texas tackle issues such as cross-border human trafficking and the fentanyl crisis, he said.

“There are 125,000 Americans that we are losing on an annual basis due to this crisis,” Mr. Landry said, citing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent announcement that 30,000 pounds of fentanyl had been seized at the border in Texas.

“That’s enough to kill almost everyone in the country,” he said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently announced plans to deploy even more National Guard, State Guard, and Highway Patrol officers to assist Texas in securing its southern border.

If we don’t have a border, then we are not a sovereign country,” Mr. DeSantis said in Jacksonville, Florida, on Feb. 1. “You either have a border, or you don’t. You’re either a sovereign country, or you’re not.

Florida has been helping Texas secure its border since 2021, and has deployed more than 700 members of the state’s National Guard.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said on Feb. 9 that he had ordered the deployment of 50 Indiana National Guard troops to Texas to assist with border security efforts.

“I am sending 50 #Hoosier Guardsmen to the southern border to support the Texas National Guard on their security mission,” Mr. Holcomb wrote in a social media post on the morning of Feb. 9. “These soldiers will begin mobilizing for the mission immediately and will arrive in Texas in mid-March.”

Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times (Emphasis ours),

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