Gov. Chris Sununu is asking the state legislature’s Fiscal Committee to approve $850,000 to cover the costs of sending members of the New Hampshire National Guard to Eagle Pass, Texas. It’s the latest example of Sununu’s border-hawk policies, and a potential headache for the two Democrats hoping to succeed him.

“Pursuant to RSA 9:13-d, I respectfully request approval to authorize expenditures in the amount of
$850,000 to facilitate a state active-duty operation of the New Hampshire National Guard in support of security activities at the southern United States border to protect New Hampshire citizens from harm, effective upon Fiscal Committee approval through June 15, 2024. Funds will be drawn from otherwise unappropriated monies available in the State Treasury,” Sununu wrote.

“The southern border has devolved into a corridor for the cartels to funnel fentanyl (and other drugs) into this country, fueling an epidemic of overdoses and ruined lives. Open borders invite threats of terrorism and other ill-intended aims.

“Simply stated, in the absence of a willingness at the federal level to secure our borders, states (both individually and collectively) must undertake efforts to protect the safety of their citizens,” Sununu added.

Sununu’s request comes as Customs and Border Patrol reported 176,205 migrant encounters along the southwest border in the last month. While that’s significantly lower than December’s record-setting 302,000 encounters, it’s still the highest number for a January ever recorded.

Sununu is often labeled a moderate, but he’s been aggressive on the border security issue, using state funding to replace resources stripped from the northern border at a time when illegal crossings from Canada have soared. He recently traveled to Eagle Pass to show his support for Texas Gov. Greg Abbot’s efforts to secure the border.

Also on Tuesday, Sununu’s fellow GOP Gov. Brian Kemp ordered the Georgia National Guard to deploy troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

More than 8.5 million illegal immigrants have entered the U.S. since President Joe Biden took office and reversed many of his predecessor’s border policies.

While immigration policy is often viewed as a federal issue, it’s also at the center of the race to replace Sununu when he finishes his fourth term at the end of the year.

The two Republicans running for governor have been hitting illegal immigration hard, in part because the two Democrats are working so hard to dodge it.

Republican Chuck Morse touts his visit to the southern border and get-tough policies in his campaign, and he quickly released a statement supporting Sununu’s request.

“I commend Gov. Chris Sununu for taking a stand and proactively supporting Gov. Abbott in the mission to secure our southern border and halt the influx of illegal immigrants,” Morse said.

“This crisis demands bipartisan support and unified action… As we anticipate the Fiscal Committee’s deliberation on February 16, 2024, I urge my colleagues and fellow Granite Staters to unite in supporting Texas’ constitutional right to self-defense.”

And Kelly Ayotte, widely viewed as the GOP frontrunner, has been calling out Democrat Joyce Craig for months over her support for sanctuary city policies and her refusal to answer questions about immigration policy. Not surprisingly, Ayotte also backs Sununu’s move.

“The Biden administration’s disastrous open-border policies are dangerous and have allowed more deadly fentanyl to flow into New Hampshire. While Joe Biden fails, governors are stepping up to secure our country – I fully support Gov. Sununu’s efforts and will always oppose sanctuary policies and fight to secure our borders,” Ayotte said.

Warmington, who has the support of the pro-amnesty, progressive wing of the state’s Democratic Party, has refused to respond to repeated questions about her views on immigration enforcement and sanctuary policies.

That is particularly problematic for Granite State Democrats due to the chaos in Massachusetts, where Democrat Gov. Maura Healey’s embrace of sanctuary policies has resulted in the state’s shelter system being overwhelmed. The governor has seized control of a recreation center in the minority community of Roxbury to accommodate the undocumented.

Does Craig, who touts the endorsement of Healey, support the same policies? She refuses to say.

Does Warmington, backed by progressives who oppose all immigration enforcement, support sanctuary policies? Again, no comment.

Do these two Democrats support Sununu’s request for funding, and would they do the same if they were governor today?

Once again, they refuse to answer.

“If Joyce Craig or Cinde Warmington had their way, they would bring the Massachusetts illegal immigrant crisis over our southern border and into our communities,” said Ayotte spokesman John Corbett. “They support open borders and would turn New Hampshire into a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants — Kelly won’t let that happen.”

But other Democrats aren’t reluctant to speak out.

“The Governor’s desire to spend nearly $1 million of New Hampshire’s general funds to fix an issue that Republicans in Congress have failed to address is entirely inappropriate,” said House Finance Committee ranking member Rep. Mary Jane Wallner (D-Concord), who serves on the Fiscal Committee.

“Rather than pushing for real solutions and backing the bipartisan border legislation that passed the U.S. Senate, Governor Sununu and Donald Trump want to play up the crisis at the southern border to sow fear and division in an election year.”