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Gov. Ricketts sending Nebraska state troopers to southern border

Gov. Ricketts sending Nebraska state troopers to southern border

Last day of Legislature

Gov. Pete Ricketts speaks on the last day of the legislative session on May 27.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says his state will immediately begin plans to build a barrier along its border with Mexico.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Saturday that the state would be sending about 25 Nebraska state troopers to the nation’s border in Texas.

Ricketts joined Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Idaho Gov. Brad Little in stating his plans to send law enforcement officers to the area after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter requesting that other governors send available law enforcement resources to the border.

Ricketts did not say how costs for the deployment would be covered. A spokesman for the governor on Saturday did not address questions about who would pay for the deployment.

As was the case in Florida and, according to the Idaho Statesman, in Idaho, logistical details of the Nebraska deployment were still being worked out after the governor’s announcement.

The team of troopers will travel from Nebraska to Del Rio, Texas, later this month and will partner with the Texas Department of Public Safety to provide law enforcement assistance, according to a press release from the governor. They will be deployed for no longer than 16 days.

Cody Thomas, spokesman for the Nebraska State Patrol, said some aspects are still being determined as part of the request, which was made under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a mutual aid agreement among the states that is typically used during emergencies.

Some issues will depend on the work the troopers perform while in Texas.

“There will likely be overtime involved for the troopers traveling to Texas, but the extent of the overtime will be based on the functions performed while in Texas, so it’s not determined at this point,” Thomas said.

The State Patrol has adequate staffing for the deployment, and no overtime is planned to cover the shifts of the troopers in Texas, Thomas said.

Although Abbott and Ducey sent their letter on June 10, Texas’ formal request wasn’t issued until Wednesday, according to Taylor Gage, a spokesman for Ricketts. The agreement between Nebraska and Texas was finalized through the emergency compact Friday night.

Abbott and Ducey have said that Arizona and Texas are “ground zero” for the border crisis and bear a “disproportionate share of the burdens.” The State of Texas has spent $3.5 billion to secure the border since 2014. Arizona has created the Arizona Border Strike Force, which, according to the letter, has intercepted 284 pounds of firearms, fentanyl and other drugs.

The letter also said that it’s the job of the federal government to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, but that the Biden administration “has proven unwilling or unable” to do so.

A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the agency would continue to “leverage our longstanding relationships with state and local enforcement” but deferred to state officials “to speak to any steps they are taking to increase an enforcement posture.”

Ricketts has been a vocal opponent of many of the Biden administration’s priorities and has weighed in on gun control, the southern border, COVID-19 relief spending and voting legislation. Recently, he has been traveling the state speaking out against Biden’s 30-by-30 conservation plan, which calls for preserving 30% of the nation’s land and water by the year 2030.

“Nebraska is stepping up to help Texas respond to the ongoing crisis on their border with Mexico,” Ricketts said in the press release. “The disastrous policies of the Biden-Harris Administration created an immigration crisis on the border. While the federal government has fallen short in its response, Nebraska is happy to step up to provide assistance to Texas as they work to protect their communities and keep people safe.”

Some have questioned whether the governor’s actions amount to political posturing. But Gage said the decision to send troopers to Texas was akin to granting other state requests for assistance.

“We were asked by a fellow State for help and we want to help,” he said. “This is similar to requests for assistance that we’ve received in Minnesota around the George Floyd verdict and in North Dakota during pipeline protests.”

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

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