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Kemp sending more Georgia National Guard members to the southern border

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(The Center Square) — Saying 8.5 million illegal immigrants have entered the country since President Joe Biden entered the White House, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced the state is sending additional Georgia National Guard members to the southern border.

During a Tuesday press conference, Kemp said 29 Georgia National Guard members are on the border. The state has maintained a National Guard presence on the border since 2019, the longest of any state, the governor said.

“To be clear, the crisis on the border is a national problem, and it demands a national solution,” Kemp said. “But if the Biden administration continues to fail the American people, then we have no choice — no choice — but to step in.”

Georgia will send 15-20 additional members to Texas this spring to help build a forward command post on the Mexican border. The cost to taxpayers was not immediately clear.

“This group of well-trained soldiers will include those with engineering, mechanical and general-purpose skills,” the governor said.

State officials described Georgians’ role as “wrap-around services,” though their precise roles depend on Texas’ forthcoming written request. Georgia National Guard members going to the border will not be involved in arresting people.

Critics say the porous southern border has led to an influx of illicit drugs into the country, including fentanyl.

Last year, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was involved in 91 cases that included seizures of fentanyl, a 51% increase. However, those figures don’t include all the local law enforcement seizures of the drug.

“It’s hard to believe, but four years ago, this country had a secure border,” House Speaker Jon Burns, R-Newington, said, adding that illegal immigration costs Georgia taxpayers more than $2.2 billion annually.

On Tuesday, the state House passed House Resolution 1019, affirming support for Kemp to send resources to Texas.

“Every state is a border state. But we realize the way to deal with this is for President Biden to act, Kemp said. “We stand ready to work with him if he would simply just do that, and that’s what we are begging that he do.”