Republican Gov. Tate Reeves describes the state's economic progress during his State of the State address before a joint session of the Mississippi Legislature on the steps of the State Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis - Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
The support from the Mississippi National Guard comes as Title 42 was lifted last Thursday.
On Wednesday afternoon, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced on social media that he had mobilized the state’s National Guard to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers along the nation’s Southwest border.
Reeves says every state has become a border state, pointing a finger at the Biden Administration’s handling of the border as “drugs and illegal aliens are invading our country.”
“What happens at the border doesn’t stay there. Drugs and people are trafficked to every state in the nation – including Mississippi,” Governor Reeves said. “To keep Mississippians safe and limit the impact of our nation’s open borders, the Mississippi National Guard’s 112th Military Police Battalion has been mobilized and is supporting Customs and Border Protection officers and agents along the Southwest border.”
Governor Reeves went on to say that like so many Americans across the country, he will continue to pay close attention to the situation at the border.
“Mississippi stands with those trying to secure our border and we will continue to do everything we can to assist,” Reeves said. “I’m thankful for the service of Mississippi’s brave Guardsmen, CBP and everyone else working to keep us safe.”
The support from the Mississippi National Guard comes as Title 42 – a Trump-era COVID-19 policy which allowed the federal government to expel migrants for public health reasons – was lifted last Thursday. The move from the Biden Administration has sparked fears over the potential for an increased flood of migrants entering the Southern U.S. border, particularly in Texas.
Days before Title 42 was to expire, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called in another 450 of his state’s own National Guard to counter the projected increased surge of migrants. At the time, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had estimated that border encounters could increase to 13,000 per day, 3,000 more than the average encounters earlier in the week prior to Title 42’s expiration.
Governor Abbott has been critical of the Biden Administration, accusing the federal government of undermining his state as drug cartels increase their efforts to smuggle goods into the U.S.
One main concern often expressed by state and federal government officials is the rise in fentanyl entering the U.S. through the Southern border and beyond. According to reports from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), seizures of fentanyl at the border have risen sharply over the past few years. In 2022, over 14,000 pounds of fentanyl was seized along the Mexican border, according to Customs data. Seven months into fiscal year 2023, the total pounds of fentanyl seized by Customs at the border and beyond has already exceeded 17,000 pounds.
However, according to Homeland Security officials, border encounters dropped to below 5,000 by the end of last week. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas credits his departments months of planning prior to ending Title 42. The Biden Administration also authorized increased enforcement presence at the border leading up to the expiration of Title 42, deploying some 1,500 troops to support border protection agents.
The White House has been critical of Governor Abbott’s deployment of what is being called the Texas Tactical Border Force, calling it political theater. No comment has yet been made by the Biden Administration on the news of the mobilization of the Mississippi National Guard.