Feb 9, 2024 - Politics

Utah GOP governor to send National Guard soldiers to southern border

A white man's face as he squints forward

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox speaks to members of the media after meeting with President Biden. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox is the latest GOP governor to announce plans to deploy National Guard troops and law enforcement to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Driving the news: Cox announced Friday that he will send five Utah National Guard soldiers to the southern border for two weeks beginning Feb. 26 to maintain military equipment.

  • Five members from a Utah Highway Patrol drug investigation team will join for a month.

What they're saying: "Open borders threaten our national security and if the president and Congress won't solve the influx of people and drugs, states have to step up," Cox said in a statement on Friday.

  • "Right now, Texas needs our help and we're grateful to our National Guard members, state Troopers and their families for their willingness to serve and keep us safe," he said.

The big picture: Border security has become the GOP's focal point ahead of the 2024 elections.

  • Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry announced on Thursday that he would send 150 National Guard members to the southern border.

Context: Cox's announcement comes less than a week after he joined 14 GOP governors at the border city of Eagle Pass, Texas in support of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's controversial border initiative Operation Lone Star.

By the numbers: The deployments are estimated to cost a combined $150,000 in taxpayer funding. The amount will be pulled from the governor's emergency fund.

The other side: Utah Democratic Party Chair Diane Lewis in a statement accused Cox of "playing political games" and "fear-mongering."

  • "We deserve a governor who is more focused on doing work for the people of Utah than building his own personal brand on the national stage or protecting his own political ambitions," she said.
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