Gov. Bill Lee has proposed sending more National Guardsmen from Tennessee to Texas, amid an increasingly politicized clash between state officials and the federal government over border patrol issues.
Lee joined the governor of Texas. Greg Abbott and a contingent of other Republican governors in Eagle Pass, a Texas border town that has become an immigration hot spot. Lee called it a crisis Sunday, and the state had already sent 125 National Guard members to the region in October.
“This has obviously been a crisis for many years now,” Lee said. “Republican governors have been sounding the alarm for many years.”
Lee publicly expressed support for Abbott in January following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing federal Border Patrol agents to remove razor wire buoys installed by Texas along the Rio Grande. Critics have called barbed wire inhumane and largely ineffective in addressing broader immigration issues. Last year, a woman and two children drowned while trying to cross the river.
The White House, meanwhile, called on Republican governors to talk with their states’ congressional delegations about support for new immigration policies.
A bipartisan border security package recently passed in Congress would include some Republican-backed measures, such as tougher asylum standards and new expulsion powers. However, the battle to gain passage will be difficult, as Former President Donald Trump pressured House Republicans to torpedo the deal.
In a Tennessee op-ed last week, Lisa Sherman Luna, executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, criticized Lee for supporting policies of “violence and devastation.”
“The status quo is not working, and our leaders have a moral obligation to build an immigration system that ensures everyone is treated with dignity and respect, improving…