SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says she will join a growing list of Republican governors sending law enforcement officers to the U.S. border with Mexico.
Noem’s announcement that she will send up to 50 South Dakota National Guard troops to Texas comes as the GOP ramps up a political fight with President Joe Biden over border security.
The issue has drawn in a host of prominent GOP figures. Former President Donald Trump was expected to travel to the border this week.
The latest fight was initiated when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this month announced plans to build more barriers along the border.
“Long term, only Congress and the president can fix our broken border,” Abbott earlier in June. “But in the meantime, Texas is going to do everything possible, including beginning to make arrests, to keep our community safe, to keep the cartels and smugglers out, and to keep your community safe.”
“Anyone who thinks this is politics doesn’t have a clue what’s going on at the border,” Abbott said last week in the Texas Capitol. “Anyone who thinks this is politics doesn’t care about American citizens or Texas residents.”
Immigration has been a weak spot for Biden.
A poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in Mayshowed that 43% of Americans approved of his handling of the issue, while 54% disapprove. Republicans across the U.S. have seized on that dissatisfaction, with even GOP governors in Idaho and Nebraska saying they, too, will send a small number of state law enforcement officers to the border.
Trump made dramatic inroads with Latino voters last year along the Texas border, which has long been a stronghold for Democrats but is also more socially conservative than the state’s liberal big cities. Texas’ Rio Grande Valley was a major backdrop of Trump’s anti-immigration policies, but wall construction and Border Patrol staffing also created jobs.