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Louisiana's GOP governor plans to deploy 150 National Guard members to US-Mexico border

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Following the extraordinary collapse of a border security dea l in Congress, Gov. Jeff Landry said Thursday that he will deploy Louisiana National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.

Landry announced the plan at a news conference at Louisiana's Capitol, joining a growing list of Republican governors who have offered state resources.

Landry visited the border at Eagle Pass, Texas, with more than a dozen other Republican governors last week, and later described the situation there as “an emergency.”

On Thursday, he blasted the federal government, saying it has essentially “dog-whistled to those who are trying to come into the country illegally by saying, ’Listen, if you swim across the Rio Grande we will let you in that way.' ”

“Because the federal government will not act, because the president will not do his job, because Congress refuses to put into place a solid immigration plan that protects this country and allows people to come in and out of this country the way it has been done since the beginning, then the states are going to act,” Landry added.

The deployment of approximately 150 Louisiana National Guard members would likely begin in March, officials say. The estimated $3 million cost of the deployment would need approval from the GOP-dominated Legislature. The state’s National Guard troops won’t have authority to detain migrants, Brig. Gen. Michael Greer the director of the Louisiana Military Department said Thursday.

So far, at least a dozen governors have sent deployments to Texas, ranging in size from a few dozen guard members to more than 100. Florida has already sent more than 1,000 guard members, troopers and other officers to the Texas border since last May.

Though Louisiana does not border Mexico, since taking office Landry has put a focus on illegal immigration in the country. Last month, the newly inaugurated governor issued an executive order, directing state agencies to collect and publish data on migrants in Louisiana. Landry’s office said the command was issued to “determine the costs the state is having to incur due to those entering our country illegally.”