Pennsylvania governor declines to send National Guard troops for the border

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s response came after legislation approved in the state Senate on Tuesday.
Josh Shapiro

Gov. Josh Shapiro won’t send the Pennsylvania National Guard to the Mexican border.

In response to legislation approved in the state Senate on Tuesday, the administration told The Center Square that congressional immigration reform is the solution to border security concerns.

“Governor Shapiro has been clear that our country needs a secure border and Congress needs to pass comprehensive reform to fix our broken immigration system,” said Manuel Bonder, the governor’s spokesman. “This issue requires leaders in both parties to step up and deliver real, comprehensive solutions — not more of the failed talking points and political grandstanding that have brought us decades without immigration reform.”

The comments come after Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward, R-Greensburg, urged Shapiro to send troops to the border to help the Texas National Guard arrest migrants entering the country illegally.

Fourteen states have sent troops to support the effort, known as Operation Lone Star. In a February press release, the Texas Department of Public Safety said since the operation’s launch in 2021, more than 498,300 “illegal immigration apprehensions” and 39,200 criminal arrests have been made.

Roughly 90% of those resulted in felony charges. Law enforcement has also seized 458 million “lethal” doses of fentanyl.

Just under 103,000 migrants have been sent to sanctuary cities across the country, including 3,400 to Philadelphia since November 2022.

“Every day, our nation’s border remains open, our country is being undermined by our global adversaries and our national security is put at risk,” Ward said. “The safety of our families, homes, bank accounts and way of living is weakened by the financial uncertainty and national security risk caused by the havoc of having the open border.”

She pointed to the state’s surging opioid overdoses and the siphoning of taxpayer dollars to subsidize safety net programs for undocumented immigrants.

In recent weeks, senators also announced legislation in the works that would impose new fees for international wire transfers – particularly from migrants sending money to their home countries – in an effort to raise more money for property tax and rent rebates for seniors.

A recent report by FAIR – the Federation for American Immigration Reform – says that of the estimated 16.8 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., there are 272,000 in Pennsylvania.

In a 2021 report to Congress, the Government Accountability Office, or GAO, cautioned that wire transfers continue to be used by transnational criminal organizations and terrorist groups to launder money from drug and human trafficking and other criminal activity.

Estimates are that 7.5% of the remittances sent to Mexico in 2023 – totaling over $63 billion – can be linked to organized crime.