NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Governor Bill Lee, R-Tn., called on the federal government to increase the priority of border enforcement in a Sunday night call with members of the media.
Opening the call, Gov. Lee described his trip to the area and the state of the Title 10 National Guard mission along the United States-Mexico border.
Gov. Lee said that morale was high during his visit, and that the state has more troops in reserve who are prepared to join if needed.
“We’ve had men and women on that Southern border for decades, but there has been a significant shift,” Gov. Lee said. “As I talk to the leadership of the national guard, there’s been a significant shift in the last several months with regard to the mission and what’s actually happening on the border.”
Gov. Lee said that there has been a significant “surge” in attempted and apprehended border crossings, which he says has been accompanied by rising crime.
When asked about specific figures, Lee said he had no concrete numbers available.
Gov. Lee also stated that his in-person trip opened his eyes to the difficulty of border security.
“We saw the complex nature of this issue, of trying to secure the border, and it’s very complex,” Gov. Lee said. “The border is winding, it’s remote, it’s wooded, there are – it’s very difficult to control.”
Aside from increased traffic, Lee said that border enforcement faces a challenge of strategy. During a Q&A, Lee expressed a hope that a national and federal conversation regarding border enforcement could begin with himself involved.