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Gov. Kim Reynolds deploys National Guard, law enforcement to U.S. southern border in Texas


Gov. Kim Reynolds deploys National Guard, law enforcement to U.S. southern border in Texas

Mar 28, 2024 | 6:38 pm ET
By Robin Opsahl
Gov. Kim Reynolds deploys National Guard, law enforcement to U.S. southern border in Texas
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has deployed Iowa personnel to the U.S-Mexico border in Texas multiple times since the launch of "Operation Lone Star" in 2021. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will deploy more than 100 Iowa National Guard and Iowa Department of Public Safety officers to Texas to support the state’s law enforcement efforts along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Reynolds said in a news release Thursday that sending personnel to Texas is an effort to help Texas “on the frontlines of this crisis.” She accused President Joe Biden of inaction on southern border security.

“President Biden and his Administration have failed to protect the sovereignty of our borders and the safety of the American people,” Reynolds said in a statement. “What Texas faces is nothing short of an invasion with historic levels of illegal immigrants and illicit drugs entering our country. Now, every state is a border state, and with that comes a duty to protect the people of Iowa.”

Biden supported a bipartisan immigration deal reached earlier this year in the U.S. Senate, but Senate Republicans abandoned the plan after House Republicans raised objections.

The Iowa deployment will be in support of “Operation Lone Star,” a joint operation between Texas’ Department of Public Safety and Texas Military Department launched in 2021 by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to address illegal border crossings and trafficking.

This will not be the first time Iowa troops and law enforcement officers have been sent to assist the operation: Reynolds deployed 28 Iowa State Patrol troopers in 2021 and more than 100 Iowa National Guard soldiers in 2023.

The state National Guard will deploy on two missions to Texas in the coming months. From April 1 through May 3, 110 troops will be in Texas assisting “the Texas Military Department’s security objectives.” The second deployment of five troops will be in Texas from April 1 through Sept. 30, providing public affairs assistance and vehicle maintenance.

Eight Iowa DPS troopers and two sergeants will deploy from March 31 through April 27, assisting the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The support effort will be funded using federal American Rescue Plan funds. The 2023 deployment also used ARP funds, costing $1.93 million.

The latest deployments come following Reynolds’ trip to Eagle Pass, Texas in February, where she and 12 other GOP governors joined Abbott to support Texas’ efforts to address illegal immigration on a state, instead of federal, basis. Texas passed a law in 2023 making illegal immigration a state crime. That law is currently not being enforced, under a federal appeals court order Tuesday.

Iowa lawmakers have sent a similar bill to Reynolds. Senate File 2340, awaiting the governor’s signature, would create an aggravated misdemeanor charge for entering Iowa or being found in the state, for people who have been denied admission, deported or removed from the country. The legislation also would allow state courts to order the deportation of undocumented immigrants and allow law enforcement and state agencies to transport those charged to ports of entry to ensure they leave the country.