Noem says border crisis affects South Dakota

(The Center Square) – South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem told state lawmakers Wednesday the crisis at the southern border is affecting the state.

Noem is exploring various legal options on how South Dakota can support Texas and force the federal government to do their job. She said she is consulting with the Adjutant General, the Secretary of Public Safety, and others on options to provide personnel and talking to Texas Governor Greg Abbott about what rules of engagement can look like to empower National Guard troops, should they be utilized.

“The cartels have operational control of our border,” Noem stated. “When the Federal government fails to uphold its duty to the people the responsibility falls to the states… I’ve witnessed firsthand this invasion that is taking place. What shocks me every time that I go there is that it’s so much worse than it was before,” Noem said.

The governor said the cartels have infiltrated tribal reservations in a scheme that eliminates state law enforcement efforts. State government does not have jurisdiction to intervene unilaterally and to provide law enforcement support to tribes, and the cartels are capitalizing on this in South Dakota.

The Oglala Sioux tribe has sued the federal government, citing violent crime, drug trafficking, and gang activity, predominantly by “non-natives” on their reservation, Noem said.

According to the governor, a federal judge ordered the Biden administration to come to the table with the Oglala for a resolution, but so far, the administration has failed to do so, prompting the tribe to sue a second time, according to Noem.

“We see the effects of Joe Biden’s failures at the border every day in South Dakota,” Noem said. “Make no mistake, the cartels have a presence on several of South Dakota’s tribal reservations.”

After Noem’s speech, the House and Senate passed a resolution that said the state supports defending the border.

Sen. Reynold Nesbia, D-Sioux Falls, said he agreed with much of what Noem had to say about the border. But he said the problem is a federal one.

“Rather than giving a speech that sounded an awful lot like a campaign speech today, we instead need her to do is to use her influence to reach out to Sens. (John) Thune and (Mike Rounds) and enact this policy that President Biden has been pushing for for months,’ Nesbia said in a post on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter. 

A bipartisan group of Senators is currently negotiating a bill on the border. House Speaker Mike Johnson said it will not pass the House.