One of my main responsibilities as Governor is to keep South Dakota safe. It’s something that I take very seriously. After all, I love this state. I love the people who live here. In a small state like ours, we’re all really neighbors. We get to know one another. And we work together to take care of each other.
Part of that responsibility means calling out when other people are making our state less safe. If you look at our nation’s southern border right now, that’s exactly what’s happening. President Biden has undone years of progress securing our border, and it’s led to a massive surge of illegal immigration into our country.
We can’t possibly know who all these people are. In fact, media outlets have reported that Border Patrol has apprehended several individuals on the terrorism watch list coming into our country. The number of illegal drugs like fentanyl crossing the southern border are up by 233% compared to previous years. Border Patrol needs more help, and they aren’t able to catch everything, so we have no idea what else may be getting through.
When President Biden started asking states to take some of these illegal immigrants and house them, I told him “No way” before he asked South Dakota. Those illegal immigrants can call us when they’re an American. I wanted to make sure he got that message loud and clear. We don’t know who these individuals are, so taking them would make South Dakota less safe.
Over the past four years, President Trump took decisive action to make America safer. He worked to secure the border. He built hundreds of miles of border wall. And he improved the vetting of people coming into our country, especially in the refugee resettlement program.
In fact, I took some criticism two years ago for taking in refugees to our state. But I did so because I was confident that President Trump and his administration had vetted these people. They’d weeded out the bad actors. We had a good idea who these folks were, and having them here would not make our state less safe.
Another part of keeping our state safe is attracting high quality law enforcement officers to protect and serve our communities. Over the past year, law enforcement has been attacked and demeaned in other communities across the country. We responded to these attacks by recruiting more law enforcement officers to move to South Dakota, and we’ve had tremendous success in those efforts.
In the wake of the recent riots in Minneapolis and other places, I am going to be relaunching that campaign to recruit law enforcement officers to move to our state. In South Dakota, we respect them. We won’t defund them. Instead, we’ll work with them to make South Dakota safer.