Beshear says 220 Kentucky National Guard soldiers will help at Mexico border

Gov. Andy Beshear announced plans to activate more than 200 Kentucky National Guard members to help in the crisis at the Mexican border later this year.
Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 2:34 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 9, 2021 at 12:18 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday announced plans to activate more than 200 Kentucky National Guard members to help in the crisis at the Mexican border later this year.

Beshear announced plans to send 220 soldiers to the border, joining approximately 3,000 guard personnel from other states, during a news conference in Frankfort on Thursday.

“This is a direct request from the federal government, from the Department of Homeland Security,” Beshear said. “This is not a request made from several governors that are out there, without the backing of the federal government.”

Beshear may have been referencing a recent call from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asking for states to help pay to build the border wall that has been a hot-button issue in American politics in recent years.

“What this means is we will have a clear chain of command,” Beshear continued. “We will have clear missions that come down through the military and our Guardsmen and women will have the authority that is necessary and also legal protections.”

A statement from Beshear’s office indicated the soldiers would deploy in “late 2021,” but did not further specify where along the border.

During the news conference, Beshear said the deployment would begin sometime around October.

The Guardsmen and women “will provide operational and logistics support,” the statement said.

Veterans Club Founder Jeremy Harrell said he is glad to hear Kentucky will be sending soldiers to the border to help.

“I think it’s necessary,” he said. “I think they are having a hard time and they’ve been having a hard time. I think they are very overwhelmed down there.”

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data, there were more than 180,000 unauthorized U.S. southern border crossings in May 2021, compared to a little more than 23,000 in May 2020.

Since October 2021, data shows there have been nearly 1 million border encounters.

“My hope is that we get control of it but do it with love and care and gentleness, dignity and respect,” Harrell told WAVE 3 News. “I believe it’s going to be beneficial for Texas. I’m sure it’s a relief for those in charge there whether it’s one or two-hundred just to have some extra people and to know hey we support you. I think that’s important for leadership in Texas right now.”

Harrell said it’s important to support the soldiers regardless of whether you agree with the mission. He said hopes to work with the community to send care packages to the soldiers who will be deployed in the fall.

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