“South Dakota won’t be taking any illegal immigrants that the Biden Administration wants to relocate. My message to illegal immigrants… call me when you’re an American,” Noem wrote in a statement on Twitter.
Her remark comes as media reports that the Biden administration is moving out to various states for support on hosting illegal immigrants amid the surging crisis at the southern border. The Washington Post has also reported that the Biden administration is weighing flying migrant families and children to states near the Canadian border for processing.
Fellow Republican governors Henry McMaster of South Carolina, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, and Kim Reynolds of Iowa said clearly in recent weeks that they have rejected the administration’s appeal to take in illegal immigrants into their states. McMaster also signed an executive order that leads the state to prioritize the needs of children in South Carolina and stop installations of unaccompanied minors into residential care or foster care facilities in the state.
Noem’s spokesman Ian Fury told Des Moines Register on Wednesday morning that the governor has not got a request from the federal government but was carrying a message should a question be made.
In an effort to speak about the surge of unaccompanied minors, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it is seeking to develop capacity for 13,500 beds, with the option for additional capacity to meet what has been a perpetual flow of unaccompanied minors coming across the border. The department has opened multiple temporary facilities in the past two weeks.
For March, CBP agents encountered over 172,000 illegal immigrants, according to statistics released on April 8. This is up from just over 101,000 individuals encountered in February.
With those who passed illegally into the United States, last month there were over 18,800 unaccompanied minors, which is two times the number of minors who illegally arrived in the United States in February at over 9,300 encounters. This is compared to 5,585 unaccompanied minors in January, and 4,993 unaccompanied minors in December 2020.
A top HHS official has described the surge of illegal border crossings as “unprecedented” and told a federal judge in a sworn declaration that she believes the influx is likely to increase in the “coming weeks and months.”
“As an initial matter, it is important to understand that the current influx is not limited to the January-March time period but is an ongoing challenge that will likely increase in severity in the coming weeks and months,” Cindy Huang, director of HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), wrote in her testimony.