Hispanic advocacy group urges Biden to stop private National Guard deployment to border

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A US Customs and Border Protection officer in Texas. (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
A US Customs and Border Protection officer in Texas. (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The nation’s oldest group advocating for Hispanic Americans has called on President Joe Biden to use the powers of the White House to stop the privately-funded deployment of several dozen National Guard members to the US-Mexico border.

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) wrote in a letter to Mr Biden on 4 July that he should use his executive authority to stop South Dakota’s governor Kristi Noem from deploying up to 50 National Guard troops to the border in response to a request from Texas’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott.

It also urges him to stop similar efforts by the governors of Nebraska, Florida, Arkansas and Idaho, who have all committed to send members of local law enforcement agencies to help Texas’s efforts to prevent unauthorised border crossings.

South Dakota’s deployment of National Guard resources is being funded privately by a GOP donor, according to a press release from the governor, in a move that has drawn strong criticism from Democrats.

“President Biden, as the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and the militia of the several states, you have authority to prevent this usurping of federal powers by a few recalcitrant and rebellious states,” wrote Domingo Garcia, LULAC’s national president.

“We expect our national government to intercede and not allow the rhetoric of voices bent on increasing hate and violence in our communities. Efforts such as these contribute to the climate in America where gun violence and hate crimes have become rampant against Latinos and Asian Americans,” Mr Garcia continued.

The Independent has reached out to the White House for comment on LULAC’s request as well as the efforts by GOP governors to deploy law enforcement resources or the National Guard to Texas.

Their deployments come as Vice President Kamala Harris is leading the Biden administration’s efforts to address a rising trend of migration towards the US from Central America, and has faced scorching Republican criticism for not visiting the border itself sooner. She also faced backlash in the media after giving a flippant answer to NBC’s Lester Holt, who pointed out during an interview that she had not yet visited a facility along the US border.

The vice president has made some conflicting remarks about the situation when commenting about the US immigration system. In June, she warned potential migrants “if you come to our border, you will be turned back” and urged people “do not come, do not come,” to the US at a press conference alongside Guatemala’s president, only to days later stress that the Biden administration was working to repair the US asylum system and make the country a “safe haven” for asylum seekers.

“Let me be very clear, I am committed to making sure we provide a safe haven for those seeking asylum, period,” Ms Harris said in an interview with EFE, a Spanish news agency, two days later.

Apprehensions of immigrants who crossed the border illegally are continuing to climb, and have reached the highest levels they have been since at least the early 2000s. The US passed 900,000 apprehensions of migrants near the US-Mexico border last month, already more than twice as many as last year.

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