Gov. Chris Sununu said that despite the surge in illegal crossings at the northern border, the Biden administration has rejected his request to restore funding for the state’s border security efforts. And he said the state’s all-Democrat congressional delegation didn’t act on New Hampshire’s behalf.
A spate of high-profile stories has pushed the border chaos issue onto the front pages in the Granite State, including the recent capture of a mass murderer from Brazil who lived and worked undetected in New Hampshire for years. Just days ago, the Border Patrol reported that over the past 11 months, encounters in the Swanton Sector of the northern border, which includes New Hampshire, were higher than the previous 10 years combined.
“That’s an incredible number that should wake you up to say, ‘Wow, I guess we have a significant problem. And it is growing out of control,” Sununu said Friday. “The folks who smuggle these individuals, the coyotes, the drug dealers, the cartels, they have woken up to the massively open border on the north: the sex trafficking that happens, the human trafficking, the drug trafficking — It’s all happened right here in New Hampshire.
“This isn’t speculation,” Sununu added. “We’ve seen it.”
Last month, Sununu wrote Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the federal delegation, urging the administration to restore millions of dollars in border security funding the state received during the Trump administration. The funding, through Operation Stone Garden, gave the state resources to backstop federal border enforcement actions.
“I write to urge you to address the surge of activity occurring at New Hampshire’s border with Canada and in the rest of Swanton Sector. Illegal border crossings, drug trafficking, and other crimes are increasing in frequency, and a stronger response from the federal government is necessary to keep Granite Staters from becoming victims to these bad actors,” Sununu wrote.
On Friday, Sununu said the Granite State had gotten its response from Mayorkas: “We received a letter that effectively said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks. We’re not going help you, state of New Hampshire.’”
Asked if Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen or the other federal delegation members responded to his request for help getting the funding restored, Sununu said no.
“I haven’t heard from them. I haven’t heard of any action that they’ve taken with the administration. I haven’t heard of any actual action or results that they have even attempted to bring to the table,” Sununu said.
Hassan, Shaheen, and Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas declined to answer questions about the border funding or the overall border security issue.
Sununu isn’t seeking a fifth term, and four candidates are already running to replace him. He believes the border chaos issue will be important in the 2024 election.
“The Democrats have made it very clear they’re actively unwilling to do anything about what is a clear problem coming into the state of New Hampshire,” Sununu said. “They’re placating to an ultra-left political position at the expense of the safety of 1.4 million people in our state.
“I don’t care whether you’re a Democrat or Republican. You should be horribly concerned with the political stance that both Councilor Warmington and Mayor Craig have taken, putting everybody at risk,” Sununu added.
Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington are running in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Both support sanctuary city policies and oppose using deportations to enforce immigration law.
Both also declined to respond to requests for comment.
Sununu, who visited the northern border last month to help focus attention on deteriorating security, says the state of New Hampshire isn’t giving up. He is continuing to press Mayorkas to enter an ICE Delegation Agreement with the state as he promised Sununu he would do earlier this year.
Sununu also included $1.4 million in the state budget, over the objection of legislative Democrats, to help fund “equipment, overtime, and other expenses that will help reinforce our law enforcement presence on and around the border.”