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Sununu seeks to send NH National Guard troops to Texas

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, seated center, listens as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, center, speaks during a news conference along the Rio Grande to discuss Operation Lone Star and border concerns, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas. Abbott was also joined by Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, left, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, second right, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, back center, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, right, and other GOP governors, all of whom have cheered on his extraordinary showdown with the Biden administration over immigration enforcement. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay
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AP
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, seated center, listens as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during a news conference along the Rio Grande to discuss Operation Lone Star and border concerns, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas. Gov. Chris Sununu (third from left) was among the other Republican governors who joined the press conference, all of whom have cheered on his extraordinary showdown with the Biden administration over immigration enforcement.

Gov. Chris Sununu wants to send soldiers from the New Hampshire National Guard to Eagle Pass, Texas, to aid with immigration enforcement efforts at the nation's southern border.

The move comes amid ongoing tension between Texas and the federal government over the southern border — and a growing emphasis on security at the state's northern border from New Hampshire Republicans, even as data shows crossings along the boundary with Canada are relatively rare.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered Texas to grant U.S. border patrol agents access to an area where migrants were crossing the border, after Texas put up razor wire to block federal officials. And last week, Republicans in the U.S. Senate scuttled a bipartisan plan, backed by the Biden administration, aimed at bolstering border security.

Sununu is now asking New Hampshire lawmakers to spend $850,000 to send 15 National Guard soldiers to the U.S.-Mexico border. If deployed, they would be on active duty for up to 90 days under the direction of the Texas National Guard.

“Simply stated, in the absence of a willingness at the federal level to secure our border, states (both individually and collectively) must undertake efforts to protect the safety of their citizens," Sununu wrote in a letter to the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee Tuesday.

The Fiscal Committee will take up the governor’s request on Friday. If approved, it would be the second time New Hampshire has deployed troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, after more than 150 troops were sent there in October 2022.

Sununu made his own visit to Eagle Pass earlier this month, where he and other Republican governors joined Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for a press conference on that state's efforts to secure its border with Mexico.

“I give Texas all the credit in the world,” Sununu later told New Hampshire reporters. “They’ve spent over a billion dollars of their own general fund dollars to do what the federal government isn’t doing. A billion dollars. Can you imagine that?”

Sununu and other Republican governors have also written to the Biden administration to argue that Texas has a constitutional right to defend its border and stop illegal immigration and drug smuggling.

Border enforcement has become a major priority for Sununu, who successfully pushed lawmakers to spend $1.4 million to boost security along New Hampshire’s 58-mile boundary with Canada.

Sununu has repeatedly called the situation along the U.S.-Canada border a “crisis.”

But recently released federal data shows there were 21 encounters or apprehensions along the state’s northern border between October 2022 and December 2023.

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