WATERLOO — Gov. Kim Reynolds said Friday that Iowa would send National Guard troops to the Mexican border if President Donald Trump’s administration requests the assistance.
“We haven’t been asked yet, but yes,” she said while attending an event at Kingsley Elementary School in Waterloo.
The Iowa governor said Trump isn’t the first president to send National Guard troops to the border. Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush both did — Bush from 2006-08 and Obama from 2010-12.
Trump on Wednesday signed a proclamation ordering the deployment of National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration.
He wants the troops to secure the nation’s southern border until a wall is built between the United States and Mexico. Congress has not authorized the funding levels Trump has sought for the wall, one of his campaign promises.
“It’s important that we secure our border” and that the process is expedited, Reynolds said.
Border security, she said, is the federal government’s “No. 1 responsibility.”
Both Trump and Reynolds are Republicans.
Iowa’s two Republican U.S. senators also weighed in Friday with support for the president’s plan.
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“It makes sense,” Sen. Chuck Grassley said during a stop in Cedar Rapids. “The same way it made sense when Bush did it and Obama did it.”
Grassley said border security is not simply building a wall.
“It’s some wall, it’s some electronic surveillance, it’s more border patrol, it is drones,” he said. “Anything you can do to make sure people can’t come into our country unless they’re documented.”
Grassley suggested Congress will not pass comprehensive immigration reform until the United States secures its borders.
In a statement, Sen. Joni Ernst, a former lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard, said, “The National Guard represents some of the best men and women we have, equipped and trained to tackle these challenges and assist the U.S. Border Patrol.
“The reality is, the border remains unsecured — meaning that drugs and crime continue to flow into the United States while illegal immigration and human trafficking flourish,” she added. “We must act.”
Gazette reporter Mitchell Schmidt contributed to this story.