Special projects director Dylan Nolan and I arrived in Yuma, Arizona earlier this week to get the scoop on America’s escalating border crisis. Turns out, we couldn’t have picked a more important time to come – and I’m not just referring to the recent expiration of Title 42 (a.k.a. “remain in Mexico”), a Covid-era border policy implemented by former U.S. president Donald Trump.
A ton of border-related news broke during our visit – including the announced resignation of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) chief Raul Ortiz on Tuesday evening. Ortiz had been at the helm of the agency since August of 2021 – and has been outspoken about the deteriorating situation at the southern border since U.S. president Joe Biden inherited the presidency from Trump in January 2021.
Then, on Wednesday afternoon, South Carolina governor Henry McMaster announced he had “directed the deployment” of S.C. National Guard troops to “help secure the U.S. southern border in Texas.”
The announced deployment came in the aftermath of a May 16, 2023 request from Texas governor Greg Abbott for governors to “band together to combat President Biden’s ongoing border crisis and ensure the safety and security that all Americans deserve.”
“I have directed the deployment of South Carolina National Guard troops to Texas to help hold the line on the southern border,” McMaster said in a statement. “The safety and security of South Carolinians require that we stop the drug cartels, criminals, and terrorists from entering our country to peddle their poison.”
Troop estimates and details surrounding their mission were not immediately available.
“The mission remains in the planning phase, and exact details, including the number of troops, will be finalized in the coming weeks with the goal of deployment by July 1,” McMaster’s release noted.
McMaster was one of nine governors who attended a “security briefing” in Austin, Texas on May 22, 2023 related to the border crisis. He was joined at that gathering by Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Idaho governor Brad Little, Iowa governor Kim Reynolds, Mississippi governor Tate Reeves, Nebraska governor Jim Pillen, Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt, Tennessee governor Bill Lee and Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin.
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At the meeting, Abbott “highlighted how President Biden’s refusal to secure the border is a national security threat, noting that sixteen individuals on the terrorist watchlist were arrested just last month at the border.” Abbott pleaded with the assembled governors to join Idaho and Florida in sending their troops to the border.
“The flood of illegal border activity invited by the Biden Administration flows directly across the southern border into Texas communities, but this crisis does not stop in our state,” Abbott said.
On that point, he is absolutely correct. Something we definitively established on our visit to the border is that illegal immigrants don’t hang around the communities where they cross for very long. Typically, they are moving out of the border region within 24-48 hours and arriving at their final destinations within 72 hours.
Stay tuned for much more border coverage in the coming days, weeks and months as Dylan and I process the massive amount of information we have received over the past few days here in Yuma, Arizona.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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