A group of 26 Republican governors launched the American Governors’ Border Strike Force on Tuesday, a nationwide partnership to secure the border in response to the federal government’s failures.
The American Governors’ Border Strike Force announcement on Tuesday by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Texas Governor Greg Abbott came just one day after a report by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) disclosed that illegal immigrant crossings in March of the nation’s southern border were the highest for a month in two decades.
Ducey noted that the Border Strike Force is based on the successful model developed in 2015 by Arizona’s Border Strike Force.
“What we’re doing in Arizona works,” Ducey said in a statement on Tuesday.
“But this is not just an Arizona issue, it’s a national issue. 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,” he added.
The launch of the strike force also follows the Biden administration’s recent announcement that it plans to end Title 42 in May, a Trump-era policy that allows the Border Patrol to turn away migrants at the southern border to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“After considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19 (such as highly effective vaccines and therapeutics), the CDC director has determined that an order suspending the right to introduce migrants into the United States is no longer necessary,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement in March.
Concerns continue to grow that the policy change could lead to an additional spike in illegal crossings. Border officials are preparing for up to 18,000 illegal crossings per day, a number that could exceed 540,000 people per month.
The costly response would also include a large increase in personnel. An additional 2,500 law enforcement officers, 2,750 support staff, and over 1,000 medical personnel at the southern border could be required, according to a report by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
In addition, Border Patrol apprehended at least 23 individuals included on the nation’s terror watchlist last year, according to CBP information.
“Between Jan. 20 and Dec. 27, 2021, there were 23 encounters with individuals whose names matched on the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB),” Fox News reported.
The other governors joining the strike force include 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.