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Hochul urged to send National Guard troops to southern border

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(The Center Square) — New York Republican leaders are calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to deploy National Guard troops to the southern border to deal with the influx of asylum seekers.

In a letter to Hochul, Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, R-Tonawanda, and Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaksi, urge the Democratic governor to deploy the National Guard “immediately to assist the State of Texas and New York Canadian border in efforts to stop the flow of migrants coming into our country illegally.”

“Immigration reform is a matter that must be dealt with on the federal level,” they wrote. “However, we hope you agree that the states’ sovereign right to protect its citizens and its communities must be valued above the actions of federal authorities.”

Ortt said New York previously sent National Guard troops to the U.S. border in 2006 and 2007 as part of Operation Jump Start, noting that he was deployed to Arizona as part of the effort.

“Our constituents and colleagues are demanding action, leadership and results in response to the migrant crisis,” the lawmakers wrote. “An effective response is long overdue.”

New York has seen an influx of more than 160,000 migrants over the past year, the lawmakers pointed out. New York City alone has spent an estimated $1 billion on housing and other essential needs for tens of thousands of migrants under its care. Its mayor projects more than $10 billion in the next couple of years.

In the letter, the lawmakers referenced the recent controversy over New York City’s move to temporarily shut down a Brooklyn high school to house migrants and the governor’s proposed budget, which they argue will mean less money for local schools.

“The migrant influx has compromised the ability of localities to provide services and restricted access to programs for New Yorkers seeking essential assistance,” they wrote.

Abbott has deployed thousands of National Guard members and positioned them at the border as part of his security mission, Operation Lone Star. Republican governors have pledged support for Abbott’s efforts, and some have deployed National Guard troops to help Texas “secure” the border.

The lawmakers pointed to Border Security data showing that in December alone, 302,034 encounters were reported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Along New York’s northern border, 91,640 illegal crossings were reported in the past year, they said.

“Three years of inaction and failed policies by the Biden Administration have brought us to this breaking point,” they wrote.

Orrt’s letter echoes similar calls by GOP members of New York’s congressional delegation, who recently wrote to Hochul asking her to support Abbott’s efforts to secure the southern border.

Speaking to reporters in Albany on Tuesday, Hochul pushed back and accused House Republicans representing New York of holding up immigration reforms in Congress.

“If they really do want to deal with this crisis and to stop it, why aren’t the Republicans in the state of New York banding together and asking for their leadership in Washington to sign on to the bill that the Senate has negotiated,” Hochul told reporters. “There is a deal. There is a deal waiting to be signed.”

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