Alabama Deploys National Guard In Response to Illegal Immigration Crisis
Alabama Deploys National Guard In Response to Illegal Immigration Crisis

By Tom Ozimek

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, has pledged to send 275 National Guard troops to the southern border while blaming President Joe Biden’s policies for fanning the flames of the illegal immigration crisis.

With the move, Ms. Ivey joins other Republican governors in dispatching their military forces to help stem the tidal wave of people seeking to cross the border without authorization.

“Every state has become a border state under the current policies,” Ms. Ivey said in a statement.

“Alabama remains committed to being an integral part of the mission to protect our Southern Border,” she added.

Earlier, Ms. Ivey joined 24 other governors in writing a letter to President Biden on Sept. 19, blaming his policies for incentivizing illegal immigration, which they said had risen exponentially under his watch, “in some areas by nearly 850%.”

“States are on the front lines, working around-the clock responding to the effects of this crisis: shelters are full, food pantries empty, law enforcement strained, and aid workers exhausted,” Ms. Ivey and the others wrote, citing estimates that the annual cost of illegal immigration at federal, state, and local levels is at least $150.7 billion.

Citing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, the governors pointed out that there have been over 5.8 million illegal crossings since President Biden took office—and another 1.6 million gotaways who evaded capture.

In September, CBP recorded over 260,000 illegal crossings at the southern border, marking an all-time high in a single month.

In an aerial view, migrants are seen grouped while waiting to be processed on the Ciudad Juarez side of the border in El Paso, Texas, on Sept. 21, 2023. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images/TNS)

Biden’s Policies In Focus

Republicans have blamed President Biden for gutting the policies of his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, whose pledge to build a wall was a rallying cry for a series of actions that they credit for yielding comparatively low numbers of illegal border crossings.

During his first 100 days in office, President Biden took dozens of executive actions on immigration, including ordering a halt to the construction of the border wall—which his administration is now rushing to resume in an embarrassing yet welcome about-face.

In early 2021, when the Biden administration stopped the ongoing construction of the border wall, President Biden claimed that his predecessor’s focus on constructing the wall was misguided and an example of his supposed inability to manage immigration and secure the border.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has denied that President Biden’s policies are to blame for the influx of illegal immigrants while accusing Republicans of turning the border issue into a “political stunt.”

Illegal immigrants climb a section of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Tijuana, Mexico, on April 29, 2018. (David McNew/Getty Images)

‘Invasion’ at Border

One of the most outspoken critics of the Biden administration’s border policies is Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who on Sept. 20 declared an “invasion” at the southern border due to the surge in illegal immigration while ordering the National Guard and law enforcement to assist with the crisis.

“I officially declared an invasion at our border because of Biden’s policies,” Mr. Abbott, a Republican, wrote in a post on X.

“We deployed the Texas National Guard, DPS, and local law enforcement. We are building a border wall, razor wire, and marine barriers. We are also repelling migrants,” he added.

The governor’s office has also deployed more buses to ship illegal migrants to sanctuary cities, such as New York and Chicago, saying the state is “at capacity.”

A Texas National Guard soldier speaks to illegal immigrants at a high-traffic illegal border crossing area along the Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 20, 2022. (John Moore/Getty Images)

While Republicans have long been tough on the problem of illegal immigration, Democrat governors are also getting fed up.

‘They’re Coming From All Over’

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, recently expressed frustration with the illegal immigration crisis gripping the Big Apple, telling would-be asylum-seekers to “go somewhere else.”

“They’re coming from all over,” she told CNN in an interview. “But we have to let the word out that when you come to New York, we’re not going to have more hotel rooms. We don’t have capacity.”

Illegal immigrants sleep outside the Roosevelt Hotel as they wait for placement at the hotel in New York on Aug. 1, 2023. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

Saying that New York City has run out of space and is at a breaking point, Ms. Hochul also threw her weight behind an initiative by New York Mayor Eric Adams’ office to suspend a decades-old “right to shelter” law that basically says officials must give shelter to anyone who asks for it.

According to New York City officials, over 110,000 illegal immigrants have come to the city over the past year, with around 60,000 living in the city’s shelter system, costing billions of dollars per year.

Ms. Hochul, too, has called in the National Guard, but in New York’s case, the troops are being deployed locally to help with case management operations meant to get asylum seekers work permits and clear out some of the tens of thousands crowding the city’s shelters.

New York City officials are pressing ahead with an effort to suspend the right to shelter law, asking the state Supreme Court to modify the mandate, which they have described as “onerous” and “demonstrably ill-suited to present circumstances.”

So far, New York City has spent more than $2 billion dealing with the influx, and Mr. Adams’ office has said it expects that to climb to $5 billion by the end of the fiscal year.

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