Kelly smart to keep National Guard troops out of political theater

The governors of Texas and Arizona requested aid to "defend" the Southern border. Kelly was right to see it as a political ploy.



July 8, 2021 - 9:55 AM


Gov. Laura Kelly didn’t fall for the mock frenzy drummed up by the governors of Texas and Arizona last month when they requested states send “all available law enforcement resources” to “defend” our Southern border. 

Kelly rightly sensed it was a political ploy to drum up fears and lies about illegal immigrants storming our borders, stealing our jobs and shredding the fabric of America.

This is not to say we don’t have a problem with too many people wanting to call America home. But what is needed are more processing centers, migrant shelters and immigration attorneys, not armed guards.

But that’s not the blood sport that today’s politics feeds on.

KELLY’S preference is prudence. During this past year, for example, she has used National Guard troops to distribute COVID-19 vaccines and personal protection gear  and help at vaccination clinics. 

When Kansas Republican leaders overruled the Governor’s request to extend emergency pandemic measures until the end of August, Kelly replied, “A state disaster response has never been, and should not be, political.” 

Don’t tell that to Texas. Up for re-election in 2022, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is manipulating the border immigration crisis to his political advantage by saying only he can make it go away. Sound familiar?

STATES heeding Texas and Arizona’s call for increased border security include Iowa, Arkansas, South Dakota, Idaho, Nebraska and Florida.

The mutual aid is available through the 1996 Emergency Management Assistance Compact. Typically it’s tapped to address national disasters such as forest fires and hurricanes. 

As to what the visiting troops’ responsibilities will be, governors aren’t saying much.

Under federal law, the troops won’t have the powers of immigration agents nor can they ask suspicious people of their immigration status.

Under the agreement, states will cover their own costs for sending their troops south. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas said his National Guard troops will be relegated to vehicle maintenance. 

Hutchinson’s office said the cost will be about $575,000 to send 30 guard members for a 90-day deployment. Again, to do vehicle maintenance.

Arkansas must have money to burn.