Gov. Chris Sununu joined Gov. Ron DeSantis — a potential rival for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination — and 23 other Republican governors giving their public support to Texas’s response to the southern border crisis.
“The federal government’s response handling the expiration of Title 42 has represented a complete failure of the Biden Administration,” the GOP governors wrote, led by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. “While the federal government has abdicated its duties, Republican governors stand ready to protect the U.S.-Mexico border and keep families safe.”
“Texas Governor Greg Abbott has exemplified leadership at a critical time, leading the way with Operation Lone Star, and deploying the Texas Tactical Border Force to prevent illegal crossings and keep the border secure. We support the efforts to secure the border led by Governor Abbott,” they wrote.
Operation Lone Star surges state law enforcement and other resources “to fill the dangerous gaps left by the Biden Administration’s refusal to secure the border,” according to a statement from Abbott’s office. “Since the launch of Operation Lone Star, the multi-agency effort has led to over 373,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions and more than 28,000 criminal arrests, with more than 25,000 felony charges reported. In the fight against fentanyl, Texas law enforcement has seized over 402 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission.”
Abbott has also been busing willing immigrants to blue “sanctuary cities” like New York and Chicago, though the governors’ letter was silent on that topic.
After a record-setting week in which some 83,000 undocumented migrants crossed the border, the Biden administration has been touting daily crossings at a rate of 5,000 as a victory, telling reporters the border is “much better than you all expected” in the wake of his decision to end Title 42 enforcement policies.
Polls show most Americans don’t agree. The images of crowds swarming the border — and reports that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents encountered 16 people on the FBI’s terror watch list in April alone — aren’t helping.
While the issue of security at the northern border is far less serious than where the U.S. and Mexico meet, there has been a record surge in unauthorized crossings of late. The hot spot has been the CBP’s Swanton sector, which includes New Hampshire’s Coos, Grafton, and Carroll Counties. Sununu has asked the Biden administration for help increasing border patrols in this northern sector, and he’s proposed spending $1.4 million of his state budget for additional law enforcement efforts near the border.
New Hampshire Democrats have opposed both efforts and a Dem-backed proposal (HB624), requiring state or local police to let the public know of plans to hold immigration checkpoints, was killed by Republicans in the state Senate.
“House Bill 624 undermines the critical role that immigration checkpoints play in maintaining the safety and security of our communities,” said Senator Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry). “This bill would have crippled our state’s ability to combat drug and human trafficking by ignoring the challenges being posed by illegal immigration and undermining the effectiveness of our border security initiatives.”
Sununu’s decision to sign off on the border security letter comes just a week after Sununu joined these same GOP governors in opposing a new Biden administration rule that would force schools and colleges to allow men to compete in women’s sports.
“I believe in local control on these matters, and the Biden Administration’s proposed rule could potentially deny funding to some schools if they have policies that conflict with Washington’s proposed rule change,” Sununu said. “The best solutions are at the local level, ultimately up to each school and league — not a one-size-fits-all approach out of Washington.”
Some observers say his willingness to engage on these social issues is a sign he’s leaning toward entering the presidential primary. In an interview with The Messenger, a new political news website, Sununu says he sees a path forward through Iowa.
“I know I could obviously do very well in New Hampshire,” Sununu told Trent Spiner. “But I would need to do very well in Iowa, and I think there’s a huge path to doing that — a strategy a little different than what other folks have thought of before but there’s an amazing opportunity.”