NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – State legislators and sheriffs want the governor to send help to the counties bordering Mexico, so much so, they’ve come together to send a letter, asking that she deploy New Mexico National Guard troops to border crossings. State lawmakers and the sheriffs of Hidalgo, Sierra and Luna counties sent a letter to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, wanting the National Guard deployed to the border to assist Customs and Border Protection.
“Concerned citizens and overworked and understaffed law enforcement all along my senate district, which encompasses the mass majority of the New Mexico-Mexico border came to myself and fellow legislators,” said Sen. Crystal Diamond, (R) representing District 35. “The traffic that we’re seeing cross the border — they’re not seeking asylum and they are not seeking employment. We’re seeing an increase in criminal activity, we’re seeing an increase in single adults that are crossing and it’s putting a great concern and burden on our law enforcement.”
In the letter, they cite an increase of migrants crossing into the country, more than 180,000 attempted crossings across the U.S.-Mexico border in the last month, and a spike in drug seizures. While Sierra County does not share a border with Mexico, Sheriff Glenn Hamilton says what’s going on at the border is impacting his county, especially when it comes to drug trafficking.
“We’ve actually had an increase in fentanyl before this border crisis,” said Hamilton. “Now we’re starting to find fentanyl and it’s a direct result of the holes and the gaps that we currently have in the border.”
Dona Ana County Sheriff Kim Stewart says she was not invited to be a part of that letter to the governor, despite serving as a border county. She says the border sheriffs had an opportunity to work with higher-ups in the Biden administration about what’s happening at the border and that she was the only one from the state to attend.
The state communications director for the governor’s office, Tripp Stelnicki, also reached out to KRQE News 13, saying:
Despite the political rhetoric from neighboring states, there are not currently significant numbers of migrants or refugees at the New Mexico border. However, the governor and state officials have briefed with federal Department of Homeland Security leadership and other federal officials, and we will continue to work with federal and local partners to ensure that whatever resources may be needed are available. We stand ready to assist and support the federal administration’s efforts to respond, and we do not intend to contribute to the partisan politicization of humanitarian and/or public safety issues at the southern border, whether in New Mexico or in neighboring border states
This letter comes after Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to the border in Texas. New Mexico Rep. Yvette Herrell says she extended an offer for the VP to visit New Mexico but did not get a response. The congresswoman did offer a statement to KRQE News 13 in regards to the letter:
New Mexico is on the front lines of President Biden’s border crisis and I am hearing from constituents on the border every day about the number of immigrants coming across their property. The problem is made all the worse by the unfinished sections of the border wall that are funneling migrants into our state. On April 9 I called on Governor Lujan Grisham to deploy National Guard troops to the border and I continue to urge her to do so. I believe she should likewise request additional resources from around the nation as Governors Abbot and Ducey have already done.