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Missouri Gov. Parson asks for $2.3 million to send hundreds of troops to U.S.-Mexico border

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson talks during an interview on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, in his office at the state capitol in Jefferson City.
Eric Lee
St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson talks during an interview on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, in his office at the state capitol in Jefferson City.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced a plan Tuesday to add 200 Missouri National Guard members and 22 state highway patrol troopers to the 250 guardsmen already deployed to southern border by next month.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Tuesday he will send about 200 state National Guard members and up to 22 of the state’s Highway Patrol members to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.

The Show-Me State joins 14 others in sending personnel to the southern border in response to Texas’ request for support of its Operation Lone Star, Parson said.

“Missouri personnel will rotate in and out as needed, with the primary mission to help the State of Texas in (constructing) barriers to entry and supporting security patrols,” he said.

Members of the Highway Patrol will be on the ground in Texas as soon as March 1, with the National Guard members active 10 days later, Parson said. These deployments are in addition to troops Missouri previously sent to Texas to assist Customs and Border Protection, he said.

The governor said he made the decision after visiting the border and because of illegal border crossings and rising fentanyl exposures in Missouri, which Parson blames the Biden administration’s border policy for. He added that the solution is to secure the country’s border.

“We’ve waited long enough for them to do the right thing, the common sense thing,” Parson said. “They won’t, so Missouri will.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has said that nearly 90% of illicit fentanyl is seized at official border crossings and that almost none of it is seized from migrants seeking asylum.

This initial deployment will last for 90 days but could be extended, the governor said. It will cost $2.3 million from the state’s emergency response fund, and Parson said he’s working with lawmakers to backfill the funds with a supplemental budget request.

“Missouri may not be physically located on the border with Mexico, but the Biden administration’s policies have made this crisis a Missouri crisis,” he said.

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Eric Schmid covers the Metro East area in Illinois for St. Louis Public Radio. He joins the news team as its first Report for America corps member and is tasked with expanding KWMU's coverage east from the Mississippi. Before joining St. Louis Public Radio, Eric held competitive internships at Fox News Channel, NPR-affiliate WSHU Public Radio and AccuWeather. As a news fellow at WSHU's Long Island Bureau, he covered governments and environmental issues as well as other general assignments. Eric grew up in Northern Colorado but attended Stony Brook University, in New York where he earned his degree in journalism in 2018. He is an expert skier, avid reader and lifelong musician-he plays saxophone and clarinet.