DES MOINES, Iowa – On Thursday, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that Iowa State Patrol officers will be deployed to the U.S. Southern Border to aid law enforcement and border security efforts. The governor is responding to a request from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).
“My first responsibility is to the health and safety of Iowans and the humanitarian crisis at our nation’s southern border is affecting all 50 states,” Reynolds said. “The rise in drugs, human trafficking, and violent crime has become unsustainable. Iowa has no choice but to act, and it’s why I am honoring Texas’ Emergency Management Assistance Compact following assurances from the Iowa Department of Public Safety that it will not compromise our ability to provide all necessary public safety services to Iowans.”
In May, there were roughly 180,000 border encounters, a 20 year high. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in March of 2021, there was a 233 percent increase in fentanyl seizures from the previous year. In May, that year-over-year increase climbed to 300 percent. In Iowa, law enforcement officials are recovering drugs, illegal narcotics, and weapons being smuggled across the nation’s southern border by drug cartels.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety, in the first quarter of 2021, Iowa saw the highest amounts of methamphetamine seized in any one quarter since 2018. Compare that to May of 2020 when both the purity and seizure of methamphetamine dropped significantly when the border was completely closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. As for Fentanyl, Iowa saw 532 grams seized in January – May of 2020. Over that same time period in 2021, roughly 6,641 grams of Fentanyl was seized, an increase of roughly 1,148 percent.
The Iowa National Guard (ING) is also currently conducting a mission with 24 soldiers from the Unit 2/34 IBCT to assist law enforcement agencies at the southern border, per an October 2020 request from the federal government under Title 10 active duty mobilization orders.
On June 10, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey formally requested law enforcement support from all 50 states. This request was made through Iowa’s existing EMAC, a national interstate mutual aid agreement that enables states to share resources during a disaster. More information about EMAC can be found here.
The state of Iowa joins Florida, Nebraska, and Idaho, in sending law enforcement to the southern border to assist Texas and Arizona.