RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) is sending 100 Virginia National Guard soldiers and other resources to the U.S.-Mexico border at the request of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who asked states for help with security and enforcement.
Gov. Youngkin signed an executive directive Wednesday deploying the 100 troops, 21 supporting personnel and other resources to Texas to address the “border emergency,” pointing to his concerns over drug smuggling across the southern border.
“The U.S.-Mexico border emergency has intensified over the last two years,” Youngkin wrote in the directive. “In addition to the humanitarian crisis of individuals unlawfully entering the United States and the associated human trafficking plight, the flow of illegal drugs—including highly lethal fentanyl— has sharply increased.”
The governor’s office said the effort is expected to cost $3.1 million.
Youngkin is following other Republican governors, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who have directed law enforcement and state National Guard troops to aid Texas in response to Abbott’s letter to governors on May 16.
Abbott urged states to send help after the end of Title 42, which allowed the U.S. to keep migrants from coming across the U.S.-Mexico border to avoid the spread of COVID-19. In his letter, Abbott laid blame on the federal government’s response under President Joe Biden (D).
“The flood of illegal border activity invited by the Biden Administration flows directly across the southern border into Texas communities, but this crisis does not stop in our state,” Abbott wrote, adding that drug cartels are bringing in fentanyl through the border and into other states.
Youngkin echoed Abbot’s warning in his directive, writing that five Virginians die each day on average because of fentanyl and that Virginia State Police have seized over 42 pounds since 2022.
“Porous borders further allow national security threats, violent criminals, and human traffickers to cross into the United States with impunity,” Youngkin wrote. “All states have become border states.”
State Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) criticized Youngkin’s move, accusing the governor of using Virginia National Guard troops for political gain to boost his presidential aspirations.
“Youngkin for President has officially jumped the shark – our VA National Guard troops shouldn’t be used to further presidential ambitions much less fight a MAGA culture war in Texas of all places – Never thought I would see my state so compromised,” Sen. Surovell tweeted.
Under the directive, the National Guard troops and supporting personnel would be deployed for 30 days to help border security operations in Texas. They will have weapons, ammunition, body armor, protective masks, night vision and other devices.
The directive will “remain in full force and in effect” until Sept. 30, unless Youngkin makes any changes.