Gov. Lee Visits U.S. Southern Border: “America is in desperate need of leadership”

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee traveled to Eagle Pass, Texas, to receive briefings on the most severe border crisis the United States has experienced in decades. Gov. Lee joined Texas Governor Greg Abbott and 12 fellow governors to discuss how states can restore security amid the federal government’s failed leadership. Additionally, Gov. Lee today committed to deploying two additional waves of Tennessee National Guard troops to support Texas’ ongoing efforts to improve border security.

A family of five claiming to be from Guatemala and a man stating he was from Peru, in pink shirt, walk through the desert after crossing the border wall in the Tucson Sector of the U.S.-Mexico border, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023, in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument near Lukeville, Ariz. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that the Tucson Sector is the busiest area of the border since 2008 due to smugglers abruptly steering migrants from Africa, Asia and other places through some of the Arizona borderlands’ most desolate and dangerous areas. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Click here to download photos from Gov. Lee’s briefing. 

“Republican governors have been sounding the alarm for a long time; the open border experiment has catastrophically failed America, and people across the nation are experiencing the devastating consequences of rising crime, drug trafficking and human trafficking,” said Gov. Lee. “This crisis will only become worse if immediate action isn’t taken. That’s why governors are working together to do what the federal government won’t do, and that is secure our Nation’s southern border.” 

Today, Gov. Lee committed to deploying two waves of state active-duty soldiers to Texas to assist in their efforts. The Tennessee Department of Military is coordinating with Texas to determine a timeline and areas of greatest need. The first wave of Tennessee National Guard members who volunteer are expected to deploy to the border within sixty days.

Tennessee has a long history of supporting Texas in efforts to secure the border. While the current administration has attacked and sued Texas for stepping up to protect American citizens amid the continued spike in illegal crossings, human trafficking, and trafficking of deadly drugs like fentanyl, Tennessee has stood in the gap to provide resources. 

In the last three years, the Volunteer State has sent hundreds of soldiers to the southern border. Currently, more than 125 soldiers from the Tennessee National Guard’s 1175th Transportation Company are completing a year-long deployment. Their mission is primarily to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection by operating mobile surveillance sites for detecting illegal crossings and monitoring surveillance cameras.

Along with Gov. Lee and Gov. Abbott, other Governors who participated in the border crisis briefing include: Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Idaho Governor Brad Little, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, and Utah Governor Spencer Cox.