PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Photo ops with the troops. Political points on an issue sure to loom large in 2024 presidential debates. Another chance to tout a tough-on-illegal immigration stance that comes rarely for a governor whose state is closer to Canada than Mexico.
There’s plenty of reasons for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s Monday visit to National Guard troops she deployed to the U.S. border with Mexico. She says she is making the flight to the border city of McAllen, Texas, to check in on the roughly 50 National Guard members who volunteered for a 30-day deployment and let them know “we appreciate their service.”
The visit also gives the ambitious governor a chance to pick up where former President Donald Trump left off in making hard-line immigration measures a driving force of the Republican Party. Noem eagerly joined the political fight with President Joe Biden over a surge in border crossings. She deployed the Guard members to aid Texas’ push to arrest people crossing the border illegally and charge them with state crimes.