Gov. Chris Sununu may be viewed as a moderate by many of his fellow Republicans, but he’s long been a hardliner on border security. He demonstrated that yet again on Thursday by joining 24 other Republican governors declaring their support for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and his efforts to fight the ongoing chaos at the southern border.
In a letter released by the Republican Governors Association, Sununu and the other chief executives noted the “unprecedented illegal immigration pouring across the Southern border” on President Joe Biden’s watch and declared their support for “Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas’ constitutional right to self-defense.”
“Instead of upholding the rule of law and securing the border, the Biden administration has attacked and sued Texas for stepping up to protect American citizens from historic levels of illegal immigrants, deadly drugs like fentanyl, and terrorists entering our country,” the governors wrote.
“We stand in solidarity with our fellow governor, Greg Abbott, and the state of Texas in utilizing every tool and strategy, including razor wire fences, to secure the border.”
Illegal border crossings have set records since Biden took office in January 2021, and the crisis at the border is worse today than three years ago. In December 2023, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported 302,000 migrant encounters along the southwest border, the highest monthly total ever recorded.
That’s the equivalent of the entire population of the city of Manchester entering the U.S. every two weeks.
“To put this into context, all one must do is look at CBP’s own data,” Tom Homan, retired acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), testified before Congress earlier this month. “It shows total enforcement actions in [Fiscal Year] 2020 was approximately 646,000. The next full year under Biden, we tripled that number to 1.9 million, followed the next year with 2.7 million, and then in [Fiscal Year] 2023, 3.2 million.”
That hasn’t stopped the Biden administration from going to court to prevent Texas from stopping illegal immigrants crossing into the Lone Star State. The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted a White House emergency request to overrule a lower-court order that sided with Abbot. Federal agents will be allowed to remove concertina wire put up by Texas to deter illegal immigrants along the Rio Grande while the case works its way through the court system.
Biden is also suing to block a new Texas law allowing state law enforcement and judges to arrest and deport illegal immigrants.
Polls show 68 percent of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of the border.
Sununu isn’t the only Granite State Republican who’s siding with Abbott and slamming the Biden administration.
“The disastrous Biden open-border policies have put our country in danger, leaving governors to clean up the mess and more deadly fentanyl to flow into states like New Hampshire,” said GOP candidate for governor Kelly Ayotte in an X post. “Thank you to Gov. Abbott and Texas for protecting our country.”
Chuck Morse, who’s also seeking the GOP nomination for governor, likewise endorsed Abbott’s policy.
“I know I speak for a majority of Granite Staters when I say, New Hampshire stands with Texas,” Morse said in a statement. “Safeguarding American families and communities must be our top priority. I proudly stand with Gov. Abbott. As governor, I’ll vehemently oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants and work to secure both our northern and southern borders.”
New Hampshire Democrats declined to comment about Abbott’s efforts or Sununu’s support for the Texas policy. All four members of the New Hampshire delegation oppose deporting illegal immigrants unless they have committed an additional crime.
When Sununu, Attorney General John Formella, and other members of law enforcement announced the creation of the Northern Border Alliance Task Force last year, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen mocked Sununu as “late to the game.” And, as Sununu has frequently pointed out, the delegation has not acted to replace the millions of dollars in funding for northern border security stripped from New Hampshire by the Biden administration.
However, Shaheen and the other federal Democrats did release a statement Wednesday touting $3 million in federal cash they obtained for handouts in the North Country, including $100,000 for Upper Valley Snowsports/Whaleback in Enfield and $252,190 for the Shugah Valley Snow Riders.
Critics say it’s another sign Democrats aren’t serious about securing the border, and that means stopping the record levels of illegal immigration will require outside-the-box thinking by governors like Abbott and Sununu.
“Abbott seems to be trying anything he can think of to compensate for Biden’s malfeasance,” said Mark Krikorian with the Center for Immigration Studies. “More power to him, and good for the other Republican governors for backing him up. But even if he totally succeeded, the smugglers would just move the traffic west to Arizona and California — it’s just that Texas is the closest place if you’re coming through Central America.”
Abbott isn’t backing down.
“We are adding more razor wire as we speak right now to make sure that we are doing even more to secure the border,” he told Bloomberg on Thursday.
“Texas has the constitutional authority to do exactly what we are doing because the authors of the Constitution, they knew there would be times when the federal government does not do its job and states have a right of self-defense.”