On Wednesday (May 31), governors of West Virginia, Virginia, and South Carolina joined a growing number of Republican leaders to send National Guard troops or other state law enforcement officers from their states to the U.S.-Mexico border at the request of Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
Virginia Governor Glenn Young considered a possible Presidential candidate for the 2024 GOP Presidential primary, announced an executive order directing 100 Virginia National Guard soldiers and 21 support personnel to be deployed to the border.
Henry McMaster of South Carolina and Jim Justice of West Virginia announced their deployments shortly thereafter, also in response to a request from Abbott.
The announcements come on top of at least eight Republican-led states that have sent troops or offered other aid in the weeks since Abbott’s request for help.
In a statement about the deployment, Youngkin noted that the “ongoing border crisis” at the U.S. Southern border had made “every state into a border state.”
He added that given the absence of “leadership solutions at the federal level,” states would step up to “the call to secure our southern border, reduce the flow of fentanyl, combat human trafficking, and address the humanitarian crisis.”
In early May, President Joe Biden announced his intention to send 1,500 active-duty troops to the border in addition to the 2,500 National Guard members already there. The White House said that military personnel was tasked with data entry, warehouse support, and other administrative duties so that U.S. Customs and Border Protection could focus on fieldwork.
But Virginia and other Republican-led states have supported Texas’ Operation Lone Star, which is separate from active duty and National Guard troops that work with Customs and Border Protection.
Abbott launched Lone Star in 2021, saying the Biden administration would welcome illegal immigration.
But critics have questioned the effectiveness of the multibillion-dollar operation, pointing to low-level arrests for small amounts of Marijuana and low-morale among Texas National Guard troops who complained about late paychecks and having nothing to do in the projects early days.