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A group of 26 Republican governors is launching a multi-state partnership to secure the southern border as the number of migrants being detained and appearing at the border continues to increase.
The American Governors’ Border Strike Force will target cartels and criminal groups by increasing collaboration, improving intelligence, combating human smuggling, and stopping drug flow among each of the participating states, according to a group memorandum outing its mission.
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“President Biden has failed to secure the border, and it has deteriorated into a warzone that is threatening all of our communities,” South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem told Fox News. “South Dakota has sent the National Guard to the border. Republican Governors are launching a Border Strike Force to secure our communities and partner together to protect our people.”
The initiative is modeled after the Arizona Border Strike Force launched by Gov. Doug Ducey in 2015. That program has resulted in the seizure of 801 pounds of heroin and 985 pounds of fentanyl, among other drug seizures, since it started, Ducey’s office said.
“What we’re doing in Arizona works,” he said in a statement. “But this is not just an Arizona issue, it’s a national issue. If our entire southern border isn’t secure, our nation isn’t secure. As dangerous transnational criminal organizations continue to profit from holes in the border and fill our communities with drugs, it’s no coincidence that we’re seeing historic levels of opioid-related deaths.”
The other states involved in the effort are: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
The move comes as President Biden prepares to end Title 42, the Trump-era a Trump-era public health order which has been used since March 2020 to expel a majority of migrants at the border to curb the spread of COVID-19.
In March, the number of migrants encountered at the U-S.-Mexico border increased past 220,000, according to border officials.
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The number is bigger than last year’s high of 213,953 in July and is the third time under Biden that there have been more than 200,000 migrants at the border – which only occurred in two months at the height of the 2021 surge.
Fox News’ Bill Melugin contributed to this report.