Gov. Kristi Noem announces deployment of privately funded national guard to border

Gov. Kristi Noem announces deployment of privately funded national guard to border

Isabel Webb Carey
Isabel Webb Carey
|
July 1, 2021

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced Monday that she will be sending National Guard troops from her state to the nation’s southern border to “secure the border between the United States and Mexico.”

“The Biden administration has failed in the most basic duty of the federal government: keeping the American people safe,” Noem said. “The border is a national security crisis that requires the kind of sustained response only the national guard can provide.” She said the Biden administration seemed “unable or unwilling to solve” border problems and declared that, “my message to Texas is this: help is on the way.” 

Noem stated that her decision was taken in response to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s request for assistance in responding to “ongoing violations of state and federal law by illegal aliens crossing the unsecured border.” On Tuesday, Abbott reissued a disaster declaration, which said some border counties were partnering with the state to boost arrests and detention of people “for crimes related to the border crisis.”

Noem promised up to 50 soldiers would be deployed and that the deployment would last between 30 to 60 days. Unlike other Republican governors who have dispatched troops to the border, however, Noem announced that it would be paid for by a “private donation.” Donor Willis Johnson is a Tennessee billionaire and sent the money through his family’s foundation, though he declined to specify an amount.

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“You’ve got illegals coming in and I just think they ought to follow the rules of America,” Mr. Johnson said. “South Dakota is a small state. They want to help America, I want to help them.”

However, Noem’s decision to accept private funding for the South Dakota National Guard’s deployment has raised a number of legal and ethical questions about the transparency of the state’s government and its use of the military.

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Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey attends the University of Texas at Austin in the Plan II Honors Program with a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. Her interests include education, local governance, sustainability, and equity. Isabel enjoys dancing, hiking, and live music. She is also a staff writer for the Texas Orator. Email her at [email protected]
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