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Gov. Little to send Idaho State Police troopers to Mexico border amid Texas standoff

Gov. Brad Little provides his vision for the 2024 Idaho Legislative session during his State of the State address. He plans to send two teams of Idaho State Police troopers to the U.S.-Mexico border.  (Darin Oswald)
By Alex Brizee Idaho Statesman

Gov. Brad Little announced Friday that he plans to send more Idaho State Police troopers to the U.S.-Mexico border “to assist with securing our nation’s border,” as Texas is in the middle of a legal standoff with the federal government over border security.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that federal agents have the authority to take down razor wire that Texas law enforcement agencies placed along the southern border in an attempt to keep migrants out of the country. Texas authorities have since occupied a public park near the Rio Grande River in an attempt to keep federal authorities out.

Texas’s actions have been supported by Little and a majority of Republican governors.

“We stand in solidarity with our fellow governor, Greg Abbott, and the state of Texas in utilizing every tool and strategy, including razor wire fences, to secure the border,” the governors said in a joint statement. “We do it in part because the Biden administration is refusing to enforce immigration laws already on the books and is illegally allowing mass parole across America of migrants who entered our country illegally.”

Late Friday, President Biden said that he would use new emergency authorities to “shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed” if Congress passes a bipartisan immigration plan that the Senate has been negotiating.

The comments signified a remarkable shift in tone for a Democratic president and underscored the urgency of the issue for his reelection campaign as immigration remains one of his most vexing political and policy challenges.

In a lengthy statement Friday, Biden praised the bipartisan border deal Senate negotiators have reached, calling it “the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we’ve ever had in our country.”

“It would give me, as President, a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed,” he said. “And if given that authority, I would use it the day I sign the bill into law.”

Earlier in the day, Little made a pledge to send two teams of Idaho State Police troopers during January’s State of the State address. The teams would “train and act as a force multiplier at our lawless southern border,” according to a news release from the governor’s office. The two teams of troopers will leave in the next few weeks, the release said.

“We will work even harder to address the open border and its impacts because of the failure of the Biden-Harris administration to admit it’s even a problem,” Little said during this year’s State of State address. “Human trafficking is modern day slavery. The cartel and other bad actors are taking advantage of our open border to manipulate and abuse the most vulnerable, including children.”

It’s not the first time Little has sent law enforcement to the southern border. In July 2021, Little sent five troopers to the border after Arizona and Texas governors pleaded with other state leaders for additional manpower, the Idaho Statesman previously reported. The 21-day trip cost over $53,000.

He again sent a team of troopers to the border in May, and this time Little joined law enforcement on the trip. Little in the release said this year’s trip will focus on learning the best tactics to handle people who “smuggle and abuse vulnerable people.”

“They will come back to Idaho with better knowledge to stop these perpetrators in our state and, as they did before, our troopers will debrief and train their law enforcement colleagues around the state when they return,” Little said.