“Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin Sends National Guard to US-Mexico Border to Combat Border Crisis”

2023-05-31 18:11:50

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has joined the list of Republican governors sending soldiers or other state security forces to the US-Mexico border.

Youngkin announced Wednesday that, in response to a request from his Texas counterpart, Greg Abbott, he had issued an executive order directing the deployment of 100 Virginia National Guardsmen and 21 support personnel.

“The border crisis facing our nation has turned every state into a border state,” Youngkin wrote in a statement. “Because solutions at the federal level have fallen short, states are answering the call to secure our southern border, reduce the flow of fentanyl, combat human trafficking and address the humanitarian crisis.”

Youngkin’s order states that soldiers will report to a military commander during the 30-day deployment, and not to local civilian authorities, and that they “shall be equipped with weapons, ammunition, bulletproof vests, protective masks, and night vision devices, among others”.

The governor’s office noted that Texas made a request in mid-May for help dealing with “continued instability along the United States border with Mexico, including a spike in the supply of illegal drugs and human trafficking.” . The request from Texas came through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, of which Virginia is a founding member, according to the news release.

Youngkin’s press team did not respond to questions about the estimated cost of the mission or sources of funding.

Youngkin, a former private equity executive who is barred from seeking a second consecutive term under Virginia law, is often singled out as a possible candidate for the US presidency in the 2024 election. A few weeks ago, he commented that he did not he had plans to run for office this year.

Several Republican governors — including Florida’s Ron DeSantis, who has already announced his run for president — have recently announced plans to deploy members of the National Guard. Other Republican governors have made similar deployments in recent years.

US President Joe Biden announced plans in early May to send 1,500 active-duty troops to the border, in addition to the 2,500 National Guardsmen already there. Those military personnel are helping with migrant data entry, warehouse support and other administrative tasks so Customs and Border Protection agents can focus on field work, the White House said.

While other Virginia Republicans hailed Youngkin’s decision, Virginia Democrats called the move foolish and dishonest.

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