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Herrell calls on governor to send troops to border

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U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-NM, addresses a crowd Jan. 31, 2020 at the Republican Party of Chaves County’s pre-primary convention in Roswell. Herrell, whose 2nd Congressional District includes New Mexico’s border with Mexico, has criticized Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for not sending National Guard troops to the border. (Daily Record File Photo)

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U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-NM, assailed Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham Monday for not deploying National Guard troops to the state’s southern border.

“If Governor (Lujan) Grisham was serious about the health and welfare of New Mexican citizens, she would move swiftly to send National Guard troops to the border. She does not need to wait for the federal government to do her job,” Herrell said Monday in a statement provided by her office.

Nora Sackett, press secretary to Lujan Grisham, on Monday said the governor’s office believes Herrell should direct her concerns about the border to the federal government.

Herrell, whose sprawling New Mexico 2nd Congressional District includes Chaves County and all 179.5 miles of the state’s border with Mexico, sent a letter Friday to Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, requesting that National Guard personnel be sent to the border to deal with a surge of illegal border crossings.

“The U.S. Border Patrol is overworked, undermanned and under-supplied. It is your duty as the governor of our great state to protect our citizens from both COVID-19 and the cartels that cross our border,” Herrell said.

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, sent National Guard troops to the border in March.

Herrell’s request came a day after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that in March, agents encountered more than 172,000 people attempting to illegally cross the border from Mexico into the U.S, a 71% rise over February.

That includes 18,890 unaccompanied minors in March, a 100% increase over February.

Herrell, in her letter, calls the rise in migrant crossings “a public health threat” that could potentially reverse some of the progress southern New Mexico communities have made in curtailing the spread of COVID-19.

“My constituents have followed the rules, at times at great personal expense, to get the pandemic under control. Losing that control due to illegal immigration induced spikes would be a slap in the face,” she said.

In her letter, Herrell said that since the election of President Joe Biden, illegal migrant crossings have risen “due to both perception and policy of this current administration.”

Last Thursday when the statistics on border crossings for the month of March were released, Troy Miller, a CBP senior official performing the duties of commissioner, said migrant crossings have been increasing since April 2020.

The CBP, in their Thursday announcement, said reasons for the increased crossings include violence, natural disasters, food insecurity, and poverty in Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Central America.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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