Building A Barrier: Gov. Stitt Advocates For Enhanced River Defense At The US-Mexico Border

Governor Kevin Stitt said for him, it all boils down to policy change. He said anyone coming here illegally needs to remain in Mexico until they're cleared to enter the U.S.

Monday, August 21st 2023, 4:27 pm



Governor Kevin Stitt joined four governors and other officials Monday in Eagle Pass, Texas, to discuss their efforts to better secure the United States-Mexico border. Stitt said it was eye opening to see how the border wall works there.

"We can't defend the border wall, we have to go into the river and build a barrier-- because the policies right now, if you cross the river and get on that side of the border wall, the federal policies right now are… you get released into the U.S.,” Stitt said.

Stitt said for him, it all boils down to policy change. He said anyone coming here illegally needs to remain in Mexico until they're cleared to enter the U.S.

The latest numbers, and they vary depending on the day, from the Border Patrol Union reveal they arrest around 6,000 people and 1,000 known escapees every day.

Oklahoma Senator James Lankford serves on the Senate Border Security Committee, and he said once people are allowed into the country, they're told to show up for a hearing and then the government loses track of them.

“Oklahomans remember when President Obama brought almost 1,000 unaccompanied minors to Fort Sill and housing them in Lawton. During that time, we had 1,000 a day illegally crossing the border. Now, we're at 4,500 to 5,000 a day," Lankford said.

The Oklahoma Guard will be at the border for at least two more weeks. Stitt said he'll re-evaluate after that.

According to new data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, illegal border crossings have risen by a third since July.

Story Timeline: Oklahoma National Guard Deploys 50 To El Paso For Border Security Mission

In June, Governor Kevin Stitt joined 12 other Republican governors when he announced his decision to send Oklahoma National Guard Troops to the Southern Border.

"As Governor, the decision to deploy members of the National Guard is not one I take lightly and, as the parent of a deployed soldier, I am acutely aware of the sacrifices made by the brave men and women of our National Guard and their families during deployment. However, I believe it is in the best interest of Oklahoma and the nation to take decisive action to address the federal government’s utter failure to secure our southern border," said Governor Stitt. "Republican governors continue to step up to the plate when President Biden refuses to lead; and by deploying our brave National Guard Troops, we are sending a strong message that we remain dedicated to defending our borders and upholding law and order in our nation."

In July, 50 Oklahoma National Guard men and women were deployed to El Paso to assist the Texas National Guard with border security. Those Guardsmen were to be deployed for the next 30 days. Earlier in July, 100 men and women returned home after a year-long deployment assisting the same mission.

In May of 2023, The Department of Defense deployed 1,500 active-duty troops to the southern border to provide operational support to U.S. immigration authorities as they grappled with a sharp increase in migrant crossings ahead of the termination of pandemic-era migration restrictions, U.S. officials said.

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