Speaking at an event hosted by the Young America's Foundation and Newsmax Tuesday, South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem called the southern border of the United States a "war zone," accusing President Joe Biden of refusing to enforce immigration law and letting a dangerous situation fester.
Noem's comments were part of a town hall discussion hosted by "Rob Schmitt Tonight" host Rob Schmitt at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, California, near President Ronald Reagan's vacation home.
Taking an audience question about the immigration picture, the 49-year-old Noem said: "I deployed my National Guard to the southern border when the governors of Texas and Arizona asked for help. I sent my National Guard because they are used to going to war. And let's make no mistake that what's happening at the southern border is a war. It's a war zone.
"The federal government is not enforcing the law. They're not keeping people safe. And my National Guard was best suited to go there, complete the mission, work with other agencies, do a job, and make sure that they could come home and be successful."
The U.S. Border Patrol reported detaining nearly 200,000 people attempting to cross the border into the United States from Mexico in July, the highest monthly total since March 2000.
Then, last month came a new surge of some 30,000 migrants, mostly from Haiti. A crowded and sprawling migrant encampment that had taken shape under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas was finally cleared out this past weekend; up to 15,000 migrants had been present there at any one time, their status in limbo, according to the Miami Herald.
Noem, who has at times been mentioned as a potential GOP presidential candidate, described how South Dakota's National Guard troops were deployed for 60 days and will return in October to offer more help.
"What we have happening at that border is devastating to our future," she said. "Not only is it allowing people to come into this country that we don't know if they want to harm us or be like us, we're also facilitating drugs and human trafficking that is going to impact my state."
She added, because her state includes tribal lands that neither she nor federal officials control, many of the drugs distributed throughout the Midwest transit through those areas.
"So if my Guard could be there, and stop some of that at the border, then that was a good thing for my state as well," she said.
She added it is President Joe Biden's intention to disperse the immigrants throughout the country, describing how her Guard members would apprehend them and transfer them to the Border Patrol. From there, they'd be transferred to non-governmental agencies, which would then transport them to places unknown in the United States.
"And it was happening over and over again, and that is the policy of Joe Biden," she said. "That is what he wants to have happen to this country, and it's unacceptable. A nation without laws, without following its laws, without borders, isn't a nation at all."
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