by Bethany Blankley
Nine Republican governors are joining Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona in Mission, Texas, Wednesday to discuss the ongoing border crisis and President Joe Biden’s immigration policies.
Ducey and Abbott will be joined by Govs. Brian Kemp of Georgia, Brad Little of Idaho, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Greg Gianforte of Montana, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Mark Gordon of Wyoming.
“Texas and Arizona have stepped up 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,” Ducey and Abbott said in a joint statement this summer. Both governors issued disaster and emergency declarations in their states earlier this year, citing increased crime and financial strains on county governments and law enforcement because of the surge in illegal immigration due to Biden’s policies.
Ducey and Abbott also sought help from other states as they criticized the Biden administration’s lack of response to the crisis. Many states sent members of their national guard units, state troopers, or other law enforcement agents to Arizona or Texas on temporary missions.
Abbott and Ducey also have reported that their states have been inundated with human and drug smuggling, as well as increased drug overdoses due to a surge of cheap supplies of methamphetamine and fentanyl flowing into their states through the southern border.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the first governor to send law enforcement officers to Texas, won’t be in attendance Wednesday after announcing on Monday that his wife was recently diagnosed with cancer.
The governors are also part of a group of 26 governors who recently called on President Joe Biden to end his open border policies and requested a meeting at the White House. They have not yet received a response.
“The months-long surge in illegal crossings has instigated an international humanitarian crisis, spurred a spike in international criminal activity, and opened the floodgates to human traffickers and drug smugglers endangering public health and safety in our states,” the governors wrote in their letter to Biden.
“A crisis that began at our southern border now extends beyond to every state and requires immediate action before the situation worsens,” they added. “The negative impacts of an unenforced border policy on the American people can no longer be ignored.”
The surge of illegal immigration at the southern border has only gotten worse since the interstate compact was announced in June, Abbott and Ducey said.
According to Customs and Border Patrol data, apprehensions in August increased by nearly 500% along the southern border from August 2020. By mid-September, roughly 15,000 Haitians illegally congregated under the Del Rio International Bridge in Texas, eventually being stopped by Texas DPS officers coming from from across the state. While law enforcement descended in Del Rio, other parts of Texas were left wide open, leading to increased crime elsewhere, Texas officials have said.
While Texas border communities were being overrun, an area near Yuma, Arizona, has become the Grand Canyon State’s Del Rio equivalent. In August, 17,000 people illegally crossed into the Yuma Sector. That’s compared to 694 in August 2020, according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol data, an increase of more than 2,300%.
By mid-September, more than 1.3 million people had been apprehended at the U.S. border with Mexico, a number greater than the populations of nine states. Another several hundred thousand have evaded capture in addition to those who surrendered to Border Patrol.
Wednesday’s meeting also comes after Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody sued the Biden administration over its “catch-and-release” policy, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued the administration multiple times over federal immigration laws. Attorneys general from Missouri and Louisiana have also sued over immigration.
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Bethany Blankley is a contributor to The Center Square.