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Parson cites fentanyl concerns as Missouri plans to send 200 National Guard members to Texas border


Gov. Mike Parson announced his plans to send state resources to Texas to help secure the southern border during a Tuesday press conference. 

Earlier this month, Parson traveled to the southern border with 13 other governors to show support for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s “Operation Lone Star.” Parson described the border as “complete and utter chaos.” 

On Tuesday, Parson announced Missouri would be sending approximately 200 members of the state's National Guard and up to 22 Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers in support. 

“Missouri personnel will rotate in and out as needed with the primary mission to help the state of Texas in construction barriers to entry and su[porting security goals as needed,” Parson said during the press conference. 

The current plan is scheduled to last 90 days however, Parson added that they will continue to evaluate the need for support moving forward. 

Parson criticized President Joe Biden for his “open border policy.” Since Biden took office in January 2021, more than 6.3 million migrants have been detained crossing into the U.S. illegally between points of entry, according to statistics from the Department of Homeland Security.

The number of migrant encounters on the southern border was on the rise even before Biden took office, but hit a record high under his administration. The global pandemic and crises in countries such as Ukraine, Haiti and Venezuela have all contributed to the increase, according to Homeland Security. 

Parson also cited fentanyl from coming into Missouri as a reason for increased border security. 

“We have seen from the White House that the media has been quick to report without question. One statistic is that 85% of fentanyl traffickers are US citizens and with that, you largely miss the point,” Parson said. “The issue is the Mexican cartel sees little to no resistance in shipping fentanyl across our borders.”  

When asked by ABC 17 News if any of the fentanyl deaths in Missouri were directly linked to illegal immigrants crossing the border, Parson said that fentanyl has been on the rise “ever since we opened the border” so "common sense" would indicate that is where the rise is coming from, but he was unable to give a direct link. 

ABC 17 News also asked what his idea of a secure border looked like, he pointed to the amount “wide open” areas at the border and claimed that Operation Lone Star was helping to address the problem. 

“Anytime that you can stop an entry point from going from 3,000 a day down to three attempts you know something is working. Now I’m not so naïve either not to wonder where else do these people go. I think you have to understand the cartel has an infrastructure in place to move people. Thousands and thousands of people. It takes a lot of infrastructure to do that.  So now, if you close down one point, they have to find another point. I would assume this problem is going to shift to Arizona, New Mexico and California,” Parson said. 

The press conference was initially scheduled for Feb. 15 but was moved due to the shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl rally last Wednesday. 

Missouri Democrats responded by calling the announcement “political theater” and criticized Parson for not urging his colleagues in Congress to support a bipartisan birder agreement  saying the move was “not surprising” but added that it was “deeply shameful.” 

“Missouri Republicans have demonstrated time after time that they will always choose to play political games over doing their jobs no matter who is put at risk.” Missouri Democratic Party Executive Director Matthew Patterson said in a statement.

"The bipartisan bill that was blocked by Republicans in Congress would have addressed this crisis, but Missouri Republicans would rather send Missouri resources to another state than do their jobs,” Missouri State House Minority Whip Ashley Aune said in the statement. 

In early February United States senators unveiled a long-awaited cross-party bill that aims to combat illegal immigration at the US-Mexico border and allow for new aid to Ukraine and Israel. The bill received intense backlash from conservatives, who say the border policy isn't good enough.

Article Topic Follows: Missouri Politics

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Mitchell Kaminski

Mitchell Kaminski is from Wheaton, Illinois. He earned a degree in sports communication and journalism from Bradley University. He has done radio play-by-play and co-hosts a Chicago White Sox podcast.


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