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Gordon: Wyoming working on offering support to governors on border with Mexico

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Gov. Mark Gordon speaks inside the state Capitol in March. The governor announced Monday in broad terms how he wants to spend the latest federal aid package.

Gov. Mark Gordon announced Wednesday that Wyoming is working toward offering support to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey “in their efforts to secure the United States-Mexico border.”

“I recognize the serious challenges these two Governors in particular, but all of us together, are facing because of the mismanagement of our border under President Biden,” Gordon said in a statement. “We will continue to evaluate available resources to support this effort to protect our country without compromising public safety here in Wyoming.”

In mid-June, Abbott and Ducey sent a letter to other U.S. governors asking them to assist them in dealing with what they termed “the crisis at America’s Southern border.”

Wyoming is not the first state to respond to the letter. The governors of North and South Dakota, for example, recently announced that they will each be sending 125 national guard troops. In both states, the effort is being funded by federal money, although an earlier contingent of 50 South Dakota troops was paid for with a private donation, according to The Associated Press.

"What a pleasure it is to have President Trump back  in the great state of Texas." said Governor Greg Abbott. Former President Donald Trump led a group of Republicans to the nation's southern border Wednesday to highlight what they called the failed immigration policies of the Biden administration. Trump and Texas Governor Greg Abbott used the events to criticize the current president on border security, citing increased migrant crossings, criminal activity and drug trafficking.  "We had all these great policies going and they were all ended," said former President Trump. The border visit comes just days after Vice President Kamala Harris made her own trip to the border. The Biden administration has grappled with how to deal with a historic surge of migrants coming into the country earlier this year -- oftentimes casting blame on the Trump administration for not dealing with the root causes of the impending surge. "We have looked at a system where people have been housed in inhumane conditions over the last many years, an asylum system that has been broken and that needs to be reconstructed," said Vice President Kamala Harris.  Trump's visit is just one of several public events the former president is taking part in this summer as he teases another potential run for the White House...and potentially completing his signature campaign promise."This wall would have been completed within two months, everything could have been completed," Trump said. "It would have been painted, not sitting there rotting and rusting. It would have been perfecto." 

The governor’s office would not say whether the state would send Wyoming National Guard members.

“I can’t tell you whether it’s going to be national guard troops or other some other resource,” said Michael Pearlman, director of communications for Gordon. “It really depends on what their needs are and what we have available.”

Because it is still unclear exactly what Wyoming is going to be providing in assistance, the source of funding is also unclear.

“There will not be any private funds as far as we know. Funding is an open question,” Pearlman said. “We do have the funds to do this. We wouldn’t make the offer unless we had the funds.”

One Democratic lawmaker questioned spending money to send resources to the southern border amid a state budget crunch that prompted major budget cuts following the energy downturn and the coronavirus pandemic.

“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 also a member of the Joint Revenue Committee.

The release noted that Gordon has already offered “aerial assets valued up to $250,000” to the effort, but it was determined that those might not be the best approach.

“The Governor is continuing to explore ways the state can provide the assistance requested,” the release stated.

Follow state politics reporter Victoria Eavis on Twitter @Victoria_Eavis


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