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White House calls deployment of South Dakota National Guard to the border 'a political gesture'

"The progress made at the southern border in the first 150 days of the administration is pretty clear," White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY

Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters this morning that the White House views South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem's intention to send National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border a mere "political gesture."

As President Joe Biden and the press corps made their way to Florida aboard Air Force One on Thursday to survey the damage of the Surfside collapse of the Champlain Towers condo building, a reporter asked Jean-Pierre about Noem's plans.

As regards "the unusual situation in South Dakota with the National Guard," a reporter asked, "where a private donation is being used to fund a deployment, I know [White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki] said she would get an answer. I'm just wondering if you had an update on the White House's view of the appropriateness of that."

"Yeah, so the White House is focussed not on political gestures, but rather on putting in the work and delivering the solutions. The progress made at the southern border in the first 150 days of the administration is pretty clear," Jean-Pierre said.

"The administration has made significant progress at establishing a well-managed and secure border while also treating people fairly and humanely. The American people support this approach."

"Separately," she went on, "DHS and CBP continue to leverage their long-standing relationship with state and local law enforcement, including deconflicting border operations in the region and responding to call-outs from other law enforcement agencies."

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced on Monday that the state will send 50 National Guard troops to Texas to assist in securing the southern border.

"Tomorrow morning I'm officially announcing up to 50 National Guard troops to Texas to help secure our border," Noem wrote in a Twitter post Monday evening.

"The Biden Administration has failed to keep America safe. We shouldn't be making our own communities vulnerable by sending police to fix Biden's border crisis."

It was later reported that the deployment would be funded by a private donation. This, Noem spokesperson Ian Fury said, would "help alleviate the cost to South Dakota taxpayers." The donation was made by the Willis and Reba Johnson's Foundation.

Johnson said that he reached out to Noem after Governors Greg Abbott of Texas issued a letter asking for help to deal with the border in the wake of the Biden administration's failure to do so. "America gave a lot of money to get that border wall done," Johnson said. "It takes private individuals now."

Abbott announced his intentions to have Texas to construct its own border wall. "The border crisis is no laughing matter," Abbott said at the time. "It's not a tourism site for members of Congress to visit and then return to DC and do nothing."

Abbott's announcement came as border towns and cities in Texas struggle with the fallout of of Biden administration policies encouraging massive amounts of illegal migrants to flood into the US.

"One thing we know and that is a border crisis is plaguing the farmers, the ranchers, the residents of the entire border region. Your law enforcement officers, they are having to redirect their resources to deal with the border as opposed to deal what they normally deal with which is keeping your communities safe every day," Abbott said.

Former President Donald Trump visited the border on Wednesday along with the governor, saying that his plans to keep the country secure from illegal immigration and the crime that comes with that, in the form of human trafficking, drug smuggling, and gang activity, were much alleviated under his administration.

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