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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – House Republicans in North Carolina requested Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper deploy additional National Guard troops to Texas on Wednesday amid the surge in people illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
In a letter, Republicans highlighted the clash between Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Biden administration over the situation.
“This is a danger to every single person in this state. And, I don’t want to overplay this or try to hype it up, but we’ve got to deal with it,” said House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland), who is running for Congress.
Republicans urged Cooper to deploy the additional National Guardsmen “to assist Governor Abbott, not under the ineffectual federal authority.”
The state lawmakers also ask Cooper to “halt any discretionary cooperation with the federal government to place and house illegal migrants in the state.”
Moore spoke about his recent trip to Eagle Pass, Texas, where he said he met with some of the approximately 125 NC National Guard troops who are there.
“Folks are coming through. Not only are people coming through but dangerous drugs are coming in,” said Moore. “North Carolina is now essentially a border state because people don’t stay in Texas. They move all over the country.”
Moore said the issue at the border has exacerbated the fentanyl crisis. The NC Dept. of Health and Human Services says in 2021 more than 77 percent of overdose deaths in the state likely involved fentanyl.
Gov. Cooper responded to the Republicans pointing to negotiations in the U.S. Senate on a bill addressing border security as well as funding for Ukraine.
“A bipartisan U.S. Senate is close to the strongest border security law in a generation but Donald Trump is telling Republicans to stop because a tough border law hurts his campaign. If Republican legislators really wanted a strong border they would release a statement supporting this legislation instead of bowing to Trump and supporting violating the Constitution and rule of law,” said Cooper.
Former President Trump has described the potential border bill as “a disaster.”
When asked about that, Speaker Moore said, “I tell you what, I’ll comment on what Congress does next January, how about that, when I’m there. But, right now, not trying to avoid the issue but I’m not in the details of those negotiations. I think all lawmakers on all sides need to recognize this is a serious problem.”
Additionally, Moore said Republicans plan to pass a bill requiring sheriffs to cooperate with federal immigration officials to honor requests to detain people. The House passed it last spring 71-44 but the Senate never took it up. Cooper has vetoed similar bills that the legislature previously passed, but now Republicans hold a supermajority.
Democratic sheriffs in the state’s largest counties have opposed the bill, saying it’s unconstitutional and could harm relationships they’ve tried to build with the immigrant community.
“This is really a political play that we’re seeing play out. It is an election year,” said Stefania Arteaga, co-founder of the Carolina Migrant Network. “I think it’s really important to make a distinction between scapegoat narratives and economic contributions in our community.”