South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem to deploy National Guard troops to U.S.-Mexico border

South Dakota National Guard troops will be deployed to the United States-Mexico border later this summer, according to an announcement from Gov. Kristi Noem on Thursday.

At least 50 South Dakota National Guard troops will be deployed, according to the second-term Republican governor's office. It's unclear when exactly the troops will be deployed.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem visits the U.S. border with Mexico on Monday, July 26, 2021, near McAllen, Texas.

“The border crisis is growing worse under President Biden’s willful inaction. Across the country, crime rates, drug overdoses, and human trafficking have all skyrocketed because our border remains a warzone,” Noem wrote in the announcement. “Our National Guard soldiers are the best prepared to tackle this challenge. They have proven that they can serve with excellence in a situation such as this, and I am confident that they will do so again.”

It's the third time in two years that Noem has deployed National Guard troops to the southern border. In 2021, Noem sent at first 50 National Guard troops to the border in late June and then sent another 125 troops to the border in early July.

More: 'The reality of it is astonishing': Gov. Kristi Noem jumps into border policy debate during visit

Currently, at least 12 governors including Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin have all announced they will be deploying National Guard troops to the border at the request of Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbot.

Ian Fury, a spokesperson for the Governor's Office, said that the South Dakota National Guard deployment will be funded by the Emergency and Disaster Fund.

In May, Title 42, a public health law used during the COVID-19 pandemic to restrict asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border, expired.

As a result, the Biden administration put in new rules for asylum seekers including that when they arrive at the border, they must have applied online or prove that they sought asylum first in one of the other countries they traveled through, according to USA Today.

The administration also put in stricter penalties for those who cross the border illegally such as charging asylum seekers with either a misdemeanor of illegal entry or a felony if they've tried to enter the U.S. multiple times, according to the Texas Tribune.

2021 deployment had slow days

According to National Guard records obtained by the Associated Press in 2022, during the South Dakota National Guard's two-month deployment to the southern border in 2021, there were slow days. Noem had initially sent the troops to stop drug smugglers and human traffickers.

The troops didn't seize any drugs and mission logs didn't record confirmed encounters with "transnational criminals," according to the AP. On occasion, records kept by the Guard hinted at suspecting people of scouting for lapses in Guard patrols.

More: 'Slow day:' Guard emails don't match Noem border 'war' talk

South Dakota Guard members were stationed at observation points alongside the Rio Grande and would watch for groups of migrants to report to Border Patrol, which would then take them into custody, according to the AP.

The Guard logged at least 204 people who were turned back to Mexico and 5,000 others who were apprehended by the Border Patrol over the two months of deployment, according to the AP.

Noem also visited with South Dakota National Guard troops during their deployment at the border in July 2021. She told the AP at the time, "The reality of it is astonishing. What our soldiers are seeing is a porous border."

Noem was heavily criticized in 2021 when it was disclosed the state of South Dakota had accepted a private donation of $1 million from a Tennessee billionaire couple to send 50 South Dakota National Guard troops to the border. At the time, Noem argued she was saving taxpayer money.

More: Tennessee couple paying $1 million to send South Dakota National Guard troops to border

Since then, Congress banned using private funds for interstate National Guard deployments, according to the AP.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Gov. Glenn Youngkin as the governor of West Virginia. He is the governor of Virginia. That has been corrected.

This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Gov. Kristi Noem to send National Guard troops to southern border