A group of Republican governors visited the U.S.-Mexico border Wednesday to promote a 10-point border plan for President Joe Biden, just over two weeks after requesting a White House meeting the governors said he ignored.
“If the president won’t meet with us, then we’ll share our policy ideas today,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said at a press conference in Mission, Texas.
The governors’ proposals include deploying more law enforcement at the border, completing the U.S.-Mexico border wall and reinstating the “remain in Mexico” policy that requires asylum-seekers to wait for their immigrations hearings outside of the U.S.
“We can turn things around, we can keep drugs out of our communities and our schools, and we can make our streets safer,” Ducey said. “We can have an immigration policy that doesn’t include men on horseback herding migrants.”
Migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border were on the rise during the Trump administration and fell sharply in April 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic began. They have since skyrocketed under Biden, reaching a 21-year high this summer.
Biden’s approach to the border includes rescinding some policies enacted under former President Donald Trump and keeping others. The Biden administration ended the “remain in Mexico” policy and increased the refugee cap to 125,000 refugees, from 15,000, a historic low under Trump.
But Biden kept in place Title 42, a Trump-era policy opposed by the ACLU and some congressional Democrats that’s been used to expel large numbers of migrants en masse, ostensibly to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The administration has also publicly asked migrants not to come to the U.S.
“Now is not the time to come, for a range of reasons, including we don’t have the immigration system up and running in the way we want, including there is still a pandemic and Title 42 remains in place,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing last month.
Republican governors are unconvinced Biden has things under control.
“Either he’s unwilling to solve this crisis or he doesn’t know how, so we’re here to offer solutions,” Ducey said.
Ducey and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, the only other southern border Republican governor, have taken things into their own hands. Earlier this year, they sent officers from their states’ National Guard and Department of Public Safety to the border, and in June, they asked for reinforcements.
In a letter to fellow governors of both parties in June, Ducey and Abbott asked their colleagues to “send all available law-enforcement resources to the border in defense of our sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
What followed was Republican governors as far away as Iowa and South Dakota sending in their own National Guard troops and state law enforcement officers. Democrats have dismissed it as a political stunt.
“While Biden continues to dither, Texas and other states are taking action to do the federal government’s job,” Abbott said.
Ducey and Abbott were joined Wednesday by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon.