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Iowa State Troopers deployment to the Texas Border will cost around $300,000

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 12:20 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Gov. Kim Reynolds defended her decision to send Iowa State Patrol troopers to the Texas border while talking about their deployment on Wednesday.

Reynolds described some of the responsibilities troopers fulfilled during their time at the border and announced those deployed were back in Iowa.

Iowa Democrats have criticized sending state troopers to the Texas border, while Republicans have cited a rise in criminal activity at the border as a rationale to add more law enforcement. Reynolds, who is a Republican, announced the deployment in June.

Republican Governors in Texas and Arizona requested the additional law enforcement officers through the interstate Emergency Management Assistance Compact. Republican governors in Florida, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Idaho also sent law enforcement to the Texas Border.

Stephan Bayens, who is the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, said troopers worked at the border for 12 straight days, working 12 to 16-hour shifts. He said they helped with humanitarian efforts and acted as a force multiplier to help conduct high visibility patrols.

Baynes said the mission will cost “a tick” under $300,000, but about a third of those dollars would have been used as traditional salary.

“Right now, it looks like were just short $50,000 in hard costs, that would be lodging, food, gas, vehicle rentals, some additional equipment they needed like camo bags, those sorts of things,” Bayens said. “It’s going to be $150,000 in overtime costs and then about $100,000 in what would be their traditional salary.”

Documents obtained from the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management show the troopers were provided at no cost to Texas. Those documents also show Texas requested more troopers than it received.

A spokesman for Reynolds’ office said there still is a chance Texas could later reimburse some costs.

Reynolds said an increase in drug trafficking at the border is the most significant issue affecting Iowans. She said she believes the money spent at the border is a good investment to stop those activities.

“It is an investment that I believe was well spent in helping really secure the southern border,” Reynolds said. “The humanitarian efforts that were put in place, I felt like it was the right thing to do.

The governor’s office said a group representing 5% of the department’s sworn workforce was sent to the border in the Del Rio area. Those included 12 road Iowa State Patrol Troopers, 12 tactical operators, three command staff supervisors, and one bilingual investigative agent.

Iowa Democrats said the deployment of state troopers at the southern border is an example of fear tactics in an emailed statement after the Governor’s update.

Iowa Democrats said the deployment of state troopers at the southern border is an example of fear tactics and normalizes hateful actions against Iowa’s Latinx community. They also expressed their frustration about previous comments from Reynolds blaming a surge in COVID-19 cases on immigrants crossing into the United States from the southern border.

Joe Henry, who is LULAC Iowa’s Political Director, said there’s a discrepancy between the Governor’s use of humanitarian aid. He points out the Governor sends state troopers to perform humanitarian missions, but won’t allow migrant children in Iowa.

“Governor Reynolds is simply engaging in political posturing,” Henry said. “She has previously denied humanitarian aid from Iowa when asked to help refugee immigrant children. How can we say we want to extend humanitarian aid while we shut the door to those seeking refuge at the same time?”

Reynolds said she would reevaluate if Iowa State Troopers need to go back to the border after the Iowa State Fair and RAGBRAI are complete.

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