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Noem deploys State National Guard to Texas border

Governor Kristi Noem announced Monday night that up to 50 South Dakota National Guard troops are being deployed to Texas to help secure the border between the United States and Mexico.

The deployment is in response to Texas Governor Greg Abbott's request for help to respond to ongoing violations of state and federal law by illegal aliens crossing the border. Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey sent a letter June 10 to the nation's governors asking them to send "all available law enforcement resources to the border in defense of our sovereignty and territorial integrity."

“The Biden Administration has failed in the most basic duty of the federal government: keeping the American people safe,” Noem said in a news release. “The border is a national security crisis that requires the kind of sustained response only the National Guard can provide. We should not be making our own communities less safe by sending our police or Highway Patrol to fix a long-term problem President Biden’s administration seems unable or unwilling to solve. My message to Texas is this: 'Help is on the way.'”

The initial deployment to the border will last for between 30 and 60 days. South Dakota Adjutant General Jeff Marlette and the South Dakota Department of the Military are working with their Texas counterparts to finalize the details of this mission. The deployment will be paid for by a private donation.

State Senator Reynold Nesiba, D-Sioux Falls, criticized Noem Tuesday morning for the decision.

"SD National Guard members signed up to serve our state and country, not to generate air time for our Governor on Fox News or to be mercenaries for some wealthy donor. Our National Guardsmen and women are not professional soldiers for hire," Nesiba wrote on Twitter.

Noem's office said specific names of units, number of members, and mission specifics will not be released for operational security reasons.

The joint letter from Abbott and Ducey claims that an influx of convicted criminals are coming in to the country through the border to "see to it that their deadly fentanyl and human trafficking victims reach far and wide." The letter specifies that the troops will have the power to arrest migrants illegally crossing the border. 

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

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