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Va. Gov. Glenn Youngkin sends National Guard to southern border

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Wednesday ordered 100 National Guard troops to the southern border to help interdict drug and human trafficking at Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s request.

In a statement Wednesday, Youngkin announced that he signed an executive directive to send troops to the border to support Abbott’s Operation Lone Star. In March, Abbott asked other Republican governors to send troops to the southern border through an Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which allows states to send resources in times of disaster or crisis. Youngkin cited the increase in the flow of illegal drugs and human trafficking on the border that he said is “devastating Virginia families and communities.”

“The ongoing border crisis facing our nation has turned every state into a border state,” Youngkin said. “As leadership solutions at the federal level fall short, states are answering the call to secure our southern border, reduce the flow of fentanyl, combat human trafficking and address the humanitarian crisis.”

Youngkin said his move comes after a briefing from Abbott last week.

“Given the intensive resource demands on Texas, the dangers posed by the fentanyl crisis, and impact of the border crisis on criminal activity to the Commonwealth, Virginia will do its part to assist the State of Texas’ efforts with the coordinated deployment of Virginia National Guard soldiers to assist in key aspects of their mission,” Youngkin said.

Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

Youngkin’s executive directive comes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, announced this month that he is sending more than 1,100 state law enforcement agents and National Guard members to Texas’ border with Mexico. The number is a tenfold increase compared to a similar move in 2021.

DeSantis’ announcement was issued weeks before he launched his 2024 presidential campaign last week. DeSantis’ office at the time said personnel would be at the border for 30 days, with possible extensions. 

Both Abbott and DeSantis have blamed President Joe Biden for the influx of migrants at the southern border. DeSantis signed a sweeping immigration overhaul bill a day before the Biden administration ended Title 42, a Covid restriction that expedited the expulsion of migrants. Meanwhile, Abbott has bused migrants to Democratic cities, and told Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a letter this month that the move is necessary “until Biden secures the border to stop the inflow of mass migration.”

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