116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday she came away with a new insight into troubling immigration and security issues after touring the Texas-Mexico border and she wishes President Joe Biden would do the same in addressing what she termed a “self-inflicted crisis.”
“It gave me a better understanding of what they’re dealing with and why it really is important that, if this president doesn’t act, then we’re all going to have to step up and do something about it,” Reynolds told Iowa reporters in a teleconference from McAllen, Texas, where she viewed the issues firsthand by boat with Texas authorities on the Rio Grande.
Reynolds was among a group of GOP governors who released a 10-point plan at a news conference in Mission, Texas, that they said the Democratic Biden administration could enact immediately to curb unauthorized immigration, protect America, restore security and put the country on a path to end the humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border.
“For the past eight months of Joe Biden’s presidency, we’ve witnessed an uncontrolled southern border due to this administration’s policies,” said Republican Governors Association Chair Doug Ducey, the governor of Arizona. “Republican governors have answered the call in the absence of leadership and lack of resources from the federal government, but urgent federal action is needed as the impact of the surges in unaccompanied children, deadly drugs, and criminals is being felt in states throughout the country.”
The plan they released sought continued public health restrictions, reinstated migrant protection protocols, an end to “catch and release,” resumed deportation of all criminals, more federal law enforcement officer deployments, beefed-up efforts to eradicate human trafficking and drug trafficking and restoration of Trump-era agreements to be a deterrent.
Reynolds noted that Biden has yet to respond to a September letter from 26 GOP governors requesting a meeting on border and immigration issues. But in the meantime, she said, trafficking of methamphetamines and fentanyl along interstates 35 and 80 with Iowa at the hub bring the crisis to every state.
“It’s real. It’s impacting states. It’s not staying at the border,” she told reporters.
Democrats accused Reynolds of traveling over 1,200 miles from Des Moines to participate in a “lame political stunt” that amounted to a taxpayer-funded Republican field trip.
“Let’s call Gov. Reynolds’ trip to the border what it is: nothing more than a political stunt and a distraction from her failed leadership,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn, a state representative from Ames.
“Gov. Reynolds had the opportunity to offer humanitarian help and honor Iowa’s proud tradition of welcoming those seeking a better life, but she chose to say it was ‘not our problem,’” said Wilburn. “Republicans have spent years systematically dismantling our immigration system, and President Biden is working to fix the damage they left behind. While Gov. Reynolds plays political games, Democrats at every level will continue to fight for a better life for every working family in Iowa.”
Democratic National Committee spokesperson Adonna Biel said the governors “are the same ones who stood idly by as Donald Trump spent four years destroying our immigration system and spreading vile, xenophobic rhetoric” and said the event was just to “further their own political aspirations.”
Reynolds bristled when asked her reaction to her Texas visit being a political stunt, saying those critics are missing the point and not looking at the data.
“If you think this is a political stunt, then people better wake up,” the Iowa governor told reporters. “No, it’s not a political stunt. This is the real thing. Biden owns this. This is a self-inflicted crisis.”
Both Iowa GOP U.S. senators came to Reynolds’ aid Wednesday, with Joni Ernst calling the “dire” situation “a humanitarian crisis of epic proportion” with no sign of improving as U.S. Customs and Border Protection projects over 2.3 million individuals will attempt to enter the country this year.
“Folks, these numbers are staggering,” the Red Oak Republican told Iowa reporters, noting that border enforcement officers “are overwhelmed” and the Biden administration “is woefully unprepared to handle it.”
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, defended Reynolds’ Texas trip to join other GOP governors to highlight concerns, telling reporters “because the federal government's not doing its job, there is cost to all 50 states. There's no way I could quantify it, but also when they're having 60 percent of their workforce, in a sense babysitting or maybe not just with babies but with adults and everything, then they don't have enough to stop drugs from coming into the country. And you know, the problems we have with drugs in Iowa and the other 49 states.”
However, members of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Latinx Caucus expressed concern that Wednesday’s event projected an unwelcoming image of Iowa.
“We’re calling on the governor to honor Iowa’s proud history of being a state that welcomes those seeking a home,” said Iowa Democratic Party Latinx Caucus leaders Araceli Goode and Patricia Ritchie in a joint statement. “No matter who you are, what you look like, or how you got here, we’re all Iowans at the end of the day and we should embrace a road map to citizenship for our friends and neighbors.”
Comments: (515) 243-7220; firstname.lastname@example.org