Governor Kim Reynolds says undocumented immigrants and illegal drugs are “infiltrating” Iowa and she may send state troopers to Texas to provide border security in the future.
“As the federal government effectively ignores its constitutional duty to secure our border, states must act and Iowa has,” she said earlier today.
The state will spend about $300,000 on the two-week mission 28 state troopers just completed in Texas earlier this month.
“It is an investment that I believe was well spent in helping really secure the southern border, the humanitarian efforts that were put in place,” Reynolds said. “I felt that it was the right thing to do.”
Dozens of troopers have been assigned to duty at next month’s Iowa State Fair as well as this week along the route of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Reynolds plans to re-evaluate in late August and may send state troopers back to the southern border. Reynolds said Iowa and other states like Nebraska and Florida are “stepping up” because the Biden Administration’s policies have made the border “a magnet” for illegal migrants, drug smugglers and human traffickers.
“And it’s vulnerable migrants and law abiding citizens who are paying the price,” Reynolds said.
The governor held a news conference at the Iowa Department of Public Safety late this morning.
AUDIO of news conference.
The patrolman who headed the mission to Texas outlined the ways in which Iowa officers assisted Texas Rangers and federal agents. Captain Mark Miller said some of the Iowa officers assisted in human trafficking investigations and traffic stops.
A female trooper at a border gate noticed a migrant in the crowd was going into labor and summoned an ambulance. “A lot of these people have been on a long journey, so once they got their feet in our country, we wanted to make sure that they had water, they had food if they needed it and they had medical care,” Miller said.
Salaries account for about a third of the roughly $300,000 budget for this mission, with the rest was spent on things like food, hotels and overtime pay. Miller said no State Patrol vehicles went south. Instead, troopers did overnight shifts with Texas officers.
“It gave them that ability that if a high risk situation did develop, they could actually react to it,” Miller said, “instead of just standing by and waiting for more back up to get there.”
While Texas officers dealt with a driver, Miller says the Iowa troopers were able to interview others in the vehicle and determine if human trafficking was an issue. In one instance, Miller said a trooper found a woman hidden in a pick-up who was in critical condition due to dehydration.
The leaders of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Latinx Caucus issued a statement after today’s news conference, saying they’re grateful for “the professionalism “these troopers showed at the southern border, but they accused the governor of stoking fear against immigrants with her rhetoric. The group’s co-chairs say it is “absurd” for Reynolds to suggest, as she did late last week, that people seeking asylum are causing the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19.