LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell has renewed her call for Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan to deploy the New Mexico National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border.
As the lone Republican member of the state’s congressional delegation, Herrell has been a supporter of the border wall and immigration reform. In her latest request, she cited an increase in COVID-19 infections amid high levels of summer border crossings.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently renewed emergency powers that allow federal authorities to expel families at the border on the grounds it prevents the spread of the coronavirus.
“The situation is dire, and the Biden administration continues to ignore the crisis they have created,” Herrell wrote. “States must step up to the plate and do what the Biden administration will not and supplement the existing federal resources at the border. Instead of placing unscientific mandates and restrictions on New Mexicans, we ask you to work to blunt the surge at our border that shows no end in sight.”
The letter was also signed by Republican colleagues from Texas, Arizona, Florida and Virginia.
Herrell made her first request in April in response to large increases of traffic at the border. At the time, she said Border Patrol agents were overworked and under-supplied.
The congresswoman, whose district covers all of southern New Mexico, is asking Lujan Grisham to join her for a visit to Luna and Hidalgo counties to see “how this situation is affecting our farmers, ranchers, and ordinary citizens.”
Nora Meyers Sackett, the governor’s spokeswoman, suggested that Herrell’s concerns were partisan and based on disinformation. She also said the state National Guard has been engaged in pandemic-related missions — from staffing testing sites and helping at vaccine clinics to delivering food, water and personal protective equipment.
The governor’s office did not respond to Herrell’s request for a joint visit to the border, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.
Lujan Grisham visited the border soon after taking office. But Herrell said in her letter that she is disheartened that the governor hasn’t visited more recently.