26 Republican governors have joined a border task force amid failures by the Biden administration to curb illegal immigration from the US’s southern border.
Announcement of the task force came from Republican governors Greg Abbott (R-TX) and Doug Ducey (R-AZ). The “American Governors’ Border Strike Force” was made public on Tuesday, just one day after the White House released data that showed that more people were encountered attempting to illegally enter the US from its southern border in March than in any other month in the last 22 years.
“What we’re doing in Arizona works,” said Governor Ducey. “This is not just an Arizona issue, it’s a national issue,” said Ducey in a statement. “If our entire southern border isn’t secure, our nation isn’t secure. As dangerous transnational criminal organizations continue to profit from holes in the border and fill our communities with drugs, it’s no coincidence that we’re seeing historic levels of opioid-related deaths. The American Governors’ Border Strike Force will serve as a force multiplier in the fight against criminal activity directly tied to our border. My thanks to my fellow governors who saw the problem and chose to be part of the solution.”
Today’s announcement comes as the Biden administration is preparing to lift Title 42, a “common-sense policy” that has helped secure the border, says Ducey.
Joining Arizona and Texas in the effort are the governors of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
“Criminal organizations know how to exploit the crisis at the border, and are using it to flood massive quantities of fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine into our country,” said Tim Roemer, Arizona Department of Homeland Security Director and the state’s Chief Information Security Officer in a statement. “The Biden administration’s failed border policies have created a homeland security and humanitarian crisis — and every state in the country is paying the price. The American Governors’ Border Strike Force will increase collaboration and intelligence sharing across state lines so we can work together to keep illegal drugs out of our towns and cities.”
According to the office of governor Doug Ducey, the multi-state task force will:
- Improve intelligence sharing and analysis of state-level crimes that may be connected to border security;
- Monitor cybersecurity issues that may increase vulnerability along the southern border;
- Target cartel finances that fund criminal activity in the border regions; and
- Coordinate and improve interdiction on Interstate-10 and Interstate-40 to combat drug trafficking and human smuggling that occurs in the border region.
The response comes after a 2021 that saw overdose deaths hit record highs. 77 percent of adolescent overdose deaths were fentanyl-related in the US.