Capital Clicks

Reynolds and 25 other governors ask Biden for border security meeting

By: - September 20, 2021 1:26 pm

Iowa sent 28 State Patrol officers to the U.S.-Mexico border in July 2021. (Photo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Public Safety)

Gov. Kim Reynolds joined 25 other Republican governors in calling for a meeting with President Joe Biden about immigration and drug trafficking at the southern border.

“My first responsibility is to the health and safety of Iowans, and the humanitarian and national security crisis at our nation’s southern border is affecting all 50 states,” Reynolds said in a Monday news release.

Immigration has surged at the southern border in recent months according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In August, there were nearly 209,000 encounters between law enforcement and migrants. In August 2020, there were 50,000 encounters.

Last week, the New York Times and other outlets reported that thousands of migrants from Haiti were gathering under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, overwhelming the capacity of border patrol agents there.

Reynolds sent Iowa State Patrol troopers to Del Rio to assist with border patrols in July. The mission ran for 10 days and cost Iowa about $300,000. 

Beyond just surging immigration, Reynolds identified drug trafficking as a border issue directly affecting Iowans, pointing to increased seizures of fentanyl and methamphetamines in the first half of 2021.

“While governors are doing what we can, our Constitution requires that the President must faithfully execute the immigration laws passed by Congress,” the letter from the 26 governors reads. “Not only has the federal government created a crisis, it has left our states to deal with challenges that the federal government has a duty to solve.”

The letter asks Biden for a meeting in the next 15 days.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki did not directly address the governors’ request for a meeting in a Monday briefing. She told the White House press corps on Monday afternoon that this is not the time for Haitian immigrants to come to the U.S.

“We don’t have the immigration system up and running in the way we want,” Psaki said, noting that a Trump-era law remains in place that allows the expulsion of migrants due to public health concerns.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.