GOP governors request illegal immigration data

They are asking the White House for details on who is crossing the Southern border illegally and their relocation destinations.
Migrants wait in line adjacent to the border fence under the watch of the Texas National Guard to enter into El Paso, Texas, Wednesday, May 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton, File)

Republican governors in 25 states are requesting border crossing data from the White House, citing concerns about the surge in fentanyl deaths and the possibility of a terrorist attack.

In a letter to President Biden on Tuesday, the governors ask for details on who is crossing the Southern border illegally, their relocation destinations, the asylum application process rate, and how many are deported.

“We ask for this information immediately, but also regularly as the crisis at the southern border continues,” wrote the governors, led by Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R).

The GOP governors’ letter argued that states need detailed and ongoing reports on immigration data to keep their citizens safe. It raised specific concerns about drug trafficking and the toll it has taken on the nation.

“Our country cannot tolerate 100,000 deaths every year from a fentanyl crisis fueled by cartels pouring the fatal drug into our communities, nor can it tolerate the horrors of human trafficking and the lifelong scars it leaves on victims,” the letter stated.

Border crossings on the Mexico-U.S. border increased in recent months, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Border crossings at the Southwest border rose 27% from June to July, the last month for which data is available, though they fell by 30% between May and June.

In May, the Biden administration launched a series of changes to keep border crossings down, including making it more difficult for migrants to seek asylum at the U.S. border as opposed to in another country and via a new app.

The bump in border crossings has not only raised concerns among GOP governors but also with some Democrats, a fact noted in the letter. “As we have made clear repeatedly, every state is now a border state,” the letter stated.

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healy (D) declared an emergency last month, citing the need for more housing for the roughly 5,000 immigrant families in the state. “We need federal partnership, federal funding and urgent federal action to meet this moment,” Healy said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas seeking aid.

New York Mayor Eric Adams (D) has had sharp words for the White House over a lack of federal funds to help the city manage its influx of immigrants that GOP governors have sent to the city.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), who has also asked for federal funds for the immigration crisis, paused a program in June that provided health care for undocumented immigrants over 41 years old because of the growing cost to the state.

The GOP governors contend that states are uniquely burdened by an influx of immigrants, whom they are forced to house, educate and care for.

“The financial impact on the states is staggering, and it is our hardworking citizens who shoulder that burden,” the letter said.

The governors also blamed the increase in illegal immigration on Biden’s policies, such as the executive order establishing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Established in 2012 while Biden was vice president, DACA shields undocumented people brought as children from deportation and allows them to work and go to school.

After becoming president, Biden used executive authority in April to expand health care benefits to DACA recipients.