Wyoming considers aiding border effort in Arizona, Texas
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming is looking at how it might send National Guard troops or other help to bolster security at the Mexico border, Gov. Mark Gordon said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who like Gordon are Republicans, wrote other governors last month seeking help dealing with what they called a “crisis” at the border.
“We will continue to evaluate available resources to support this effort to protect our country without compromising public safety here in Wyoming,” Gordon said in a statement Wednesday.
Gordon already has offered “aerial assets valued up to $250,000” but it was determined that might not be the best approach, according to the statement.
North and South Dakota have announced they would each send 125 troops. In both states, the effort is being funded by federal money, though a private donation paid for an earlier contingent of 50 South Dakota troops.
With Wyoming’s potential mission undefined, how any aid might be paid for also was unclear, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.
“There will not be any private funds as far as we know. Funding is an open question,” Gordon spokesman Michael Pearlman said. “We do have the funds to do this. We wouldn’t make the offer unless we had the funds.”
A Democratic state lawmaker questioned the expenditure after a year of major budget cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic and a downturn in revenue from the fossil fuel industries.
“Of all the things we spend money on while initiating budget cuts, sending anything to the border isn’t one that helps Wyoming,” said Rep. Mike Yin, D-Jackson, who is a member of the Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee.
Illegal border crossings have increased this year, prompting Republican criticism of President Joe Biden. About 3,000 Guard members from several states already are involved in a federal mission at the border.