After more than a year witnessing the disastrous impacts of President Biden's open-border policies, Republican Governors are banding together in a new way to fight back against some of the most harmful consequences of the Biden administration's border crisis.
Led by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, more than two dozen Republican governors announced the creation of the American Governors' Border Strike Force that aims to "disrupt and dismantle the transnational criminal organizations taking advantage of the chaos Joe Biden has created along the southern border."
The Border Strike Force is focused on — as Julio has witnessed and reported from the U.S.-Mexico border — addressing the criminal enterprises that are "flooding our communities with drugs while reaping billions of dollars from human smuggling and causing a record-breaking number of apprehensions at the Southern Border."
Members of the new Border Strike Force cited "a major increase in border crossings by illegal immigrants" leading to "more drugs entering the country, more dangerous individuals evading arrest, and more victims of human trafficking" and the result: "criminal organizations on both sides of the border are profiting off of illegal immigrants through extortion and trafficking."
The Strike Force includes Governors Kay Ivey (AL), Mike Dunleavy (AK), Asa Hutchinson (AR), Ron DeSantis (FL), Brian Kemp (GA), Brad Little (ID), Eric Holcomb (IN), Kim Reynolds (IA), Larry Hogan (MD), Tate Reeves (MS), Mike Parson (MO), Greg Gianforte (MT), Pete Ricketts (NE), Chris Sununu (NH), Doug Burgum (ND), Mike DeWine (OH), Kevin Stitt (OK), Henry McMaster (SC), Kristi Noem (SD), Bill Lee (TN), Spencer Cox (UT), Glenn Youngkin (VA), Jim Justice (WV), and Mark Gordon (WY).
The Republican governors' solution is, according to a joint memorandum of understanding they issued, to increase collaboration, improve intelligence, invest in analysis, combat human smuggling, and stop the flow of drugs into their states.
"By partnering across state lines, governors can serve as a force multiplier to target cartels and criminal networks financially and operationally," the memo explains. "Together, governors will improve public safety, protect victims from horrific crimes, reduce the amount of drugs in our communities, and alleviate the humanitarian crisis at the Southern Border."
A bulleted list included in the memo offers some more specifics about what the Border Strike Force will do:
- Share criminal justice information to improve investigations in the border region and nationwide, especially in communities adjacent to or crossing state boundaries.
- Coordinate and improve interdiction on interstates to combat drug trafficking and human smuggling.
- Co-locate intelligence analysts in border states to improve collaboration, real time response, intelligence sharing, and analysis connected to border security.
- Assist border states with supplemental staff and resources at state fusion centers, such as on rotation assignments, to share information obtained both on the border and in other states.
- Send law enforcement to train in border states to detect, track, and curb border-related crime.
- Target cartel finances that fund criminal activity in the border regions to seize the tools used to assist the cartels.
- Monitor cybersecurity issues that may increase vulnerability along the Southern Border, such as criminal networks that operate on social media to recruit traffickers.
- Review state criminal statutes regarding human trafficking, drug trafficking, and transnational criminal organizations to ensure the laws deter, disrupt, and dismantle criminal activity.
- Review state criminal justice statistics and information to determine crimes that can be traced to the Southern Border.
- Develop interstate procedures to fill any identified gaps or identified inconsistencies in existing plans to address border crime.
The Border Strike Force comes as Customs and Border Protection reports show that FY 2021 saw more than 5,400 pounds of heroin, 97,000 pounds of cocaine, 190,000 pounds of methamphetamine, and 11,200 pounds of fentanyl intercepted coming across the U.S.-Mexico border — and on the heels of a report that 23 illegal immigrants last year were flagged in the Terrorist Screening Database.
What's more, as the governors' memo points out, "transnational criminal networks are now recruiting American teens and young adults to participate in their criminal activity."
In the absence of action from the Biden administration to secure or stem the flow of human and drug trafficking across the U.S.-Mexico border, the governors' say the "federal government's neglect of its duty has forced the states to take actions to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens."