Claiming that Biden’s border policies are ‘destroying our country,’ Gov. Reynolds joins a new ‘strike force’

Facebook photo on the cover of Gov. Kim Reynolds, uploaded in September. 25, 2021.

Gov. Kim Reynolds joined 25 other Republican governors in the newly created American Governors Border Strike Force announced Wednesday. Despite the striking sounding name and some overly heated rhetoric from Reynolds in a written statement about it on Thursday (“President Biden’s disastrous border policies and lack of leadership are destroying our country.”) the strike force is actually a voluntary agreement between governors to have their state law enforcement agencies share information with each other as appropriate, including when criminal activity has a connection to the area of the US-Mexico border.

As part of the memorandum of understanding for the strike force, the governors also agreed to review their state’s “criminal laws regarding human trafficking, drug trafficking, and transnational criminal organizations to ensure that such crimes are will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. “

“Any further request for mutual assistance beyond“ information sharing ”will be made by separate request,” according to the agreement. It also specified that the “agreement does not obligate either state of the party to spend funds.” But each state is responsible for any costs it incurs as part of the strike force.

In a news release Thursday, the governor’s office said “Iowa’s involvement in the Border Strike Force does not require taxpayer funds or enforcement personnel.” That was a change from the last time Reynolds involved Iowa in matters related to the U.S.-Mexico border.

The governor spent $ 300,000 in state funds to send 28 members of the Iowa State Patrol to southern Texas for 10 days in July 2021 to participate in Texas Gov.’s Operation Lone Star. Greg Abbott.

Operation Lone Star is Abbott’s ongoing law enforcement effort focused on border communities. Actual control over international borders and enforcement of immigration laws is the sole responsibility of the federal government. Abbott and other Republican politicians, including Reynolds, used Operation Lone Star to criticize the Biden administration’s management of the Mexican border.

Abbott has repeatedly boasted of the achievements of Operation Lone Star. Reynolds did the same, after the troopers returned from their 10-day deployment.

“I’m extremely proud of what this team has done and the impact in just the short time they’ve had in place, on people as a whole,” Reynolds said at a news conference about the deployment.

An in -depth investigation by ProPublica, the Texas Tribune and the Marshall Project published last month found that statements about the effectiveness of Operation Lone Star by Abbott and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) were “based on evolving metrics that include unconnected crimes at the border, work carried out by troopers assigned to target counties prior to the operation, and arrest and drug seizure efforts that do not clearly distinguish the role of the DPS from the role of other agencies. ”

Reynolds is accused of being involved in a political stunt by sending 29 state troopers to Texas in 10 days, and ProPublica, the Tribune and the Marshall Project found the Texans involved in Operation Lone Star also suspected it was a political stunt.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Featherston, a Texas Army National Guard veteran who helped oversee the deployment of the guard under operation until his retirement in November, said he and his colleagues believe politics is the main driver for the mushrooming initiative. . He said he remembers commanders saying things like, “We’re going back to the border, the governor is trying to be re -elected.”

Like Reynolds, Abbott is running for re -election this year.

In his 2018 campaign for governor, Reynolds appealed to unfounded concerns about immigration. He pushed for a bill to ban so -called “sanctuary cities,” even though there are no such cities in Iowa. Reynolds even featured the bill in a fundraising letter in which he said the bill would “send a message to far -left liberals in Des Moines and Iowa City.”

Reynolds did not mention either the sanctuary cities bill, which he signed into law, or his deployment of troopers to Texas in his statement Thursday.

The rhetoric associated with the American Governors Border Strike Force resonates with Operation Lone Star, which is not surprising since Gov. Abbott, along with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, was responsible for creating the strike force. Its five -page memorandum of understanding maintains its criticism of Biden’s border policies as general, with one exception. It complains “the federal government has inexplicably failed to complete the border wall, which would be a major deterrent to illegal border crossings.” But the Washington Postusing unpublished maintenance reports from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, which documented how ineffective President Trump’s border wall became.

“Mexican smuggling gangs have seen new parts of the border wall 3,272 times in the past three years,” the Post reported last month. CBP spent $ 2.6 million to repair that damage.

Ang Post discovered that breaking parts of the wall built by the Trump administration was surprisingly easy.

Smuggling gangs typically cut the barrier using inexpensive power tools that are widely available at retail hardware stores, including angle grinders and demolition saws. When the 18-to-30-foot-tall bollard is cut close to the ground, their remaining point of attachment is at the top of the structure, leaving the steel beam dangling in the air. It is easily opened by pushing, creating enough space for people and narcotics to pass through.

Reynolds, who supported the construction of the wall, was not directly mentioned in his statement Thursday, but he cited the release of a 10-point border security plan signed by the same 26 governors who joined the strike force, as one of the actions “taken by GOP governors to secure our border.” Completing Trump’s border wall is one of the 10 points of the plan.

Reynolds was one of 10 governors who traveled to Texas on Oct. 6 to participate in a news conference hosted by Gov. Abbott when the plan was released. Speaking to reporters after the news conference, Reynolds said the trip to Texas had nothing to do with partisan politics or self-promotion.

“No, it’s not a political stunt,” he said.

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