Feb 14, 2024 - News

Rep. John Curtis wants federal government to compensate states for border response

Rep. John Curtis speaks in front of mics wearing a blue blazer.

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, speaks during the press conference introducing the Republican Climate Caucus outside of the Capitol on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

U.S. Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) recently revealed legislation that would direct the federal government to compensate states for sending law enforcement authorities to the U.S.-Mexico border and other costs to secure the frontier.

The big picture: The federal government has jurisdiction over immigration enforcement, but that hasn't stopped a growing number of GOP governors from spending public dollars to send military and law enforcement personnel to address illegal crossings at the southern border.

By the numbers: Gov. Spencer Cox said last week that it would cost the state a combined $150,000 to deploy National Guard members and highway patrol troopers to the border later this month.

The other side: Utah Democrats decried Cox's move, pointing out that the funding could go toward other public services.

What they're saying: "We shouldn't be putting the burden on [states] of doing the [federal government's] job," Curtis told Axios Salt Lake City.

  • He said the number of people coming across the border is correlated with fentanyl death increases.

Yes, but: Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall last week pushed back on the notion that an increase in border crossings was fueling more drug crime in the city.

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