By Bethany Blakely, The Center Square
Republican Govs. Greg Abbot of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona are hosting nine governors in Mission, Texas, Wednesday to denounce President Joe Biden’s policies leading to a surge in illegal immigration at the southern border.
“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.
The Republican governors who responded to the call for help who are attending on Wednesday include 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.
Many had already sent members of their national guard units, state troopers, or other law enforcement agents to Arizona or Texas on temporary missions. They have also 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. More than 209,000 people this August was a 21-year-high. 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.
By mid-September, more than 1.3 million people had been apprehended at the border, 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.
The 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.