Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said he would send Georgia National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico if elected to the state’s top job. Gov. Nathan Deal’s office, meanwhile, said he has no immediate plans to do so.
In a statement Monday, Cagle said he shares President Donald Trump’s frustration “that the illegal border crossings continue” and pledged to join Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina and other states that have dispatched military units to the border.
“Illegal immigration has undermined the rule of law, strained local tax resources and endangered communities,” he said. “Finally we have a president who recognizes the severity of the problem and is going to actually do something about it. Georgians want to be a part of the solution.”
Cagle is one of five Republicans in the May 22 race, and polls show him with a double-digit lead that falls short of the majority-vote margin he needs to avoid a July runoff. Secretary of State Brian Kemp, former state Sen. Hunter Hill, executive Clay Tippins and state Sen. Michael Williams are also in the contest.
Trump in April requested that states send about 4,000 National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight what he’s called a crisis of illegal border crossings and crime.
Deal’s office said the Georgia National Guard has not received a specific request about its needs for the operation.
After Cagle challenged his GOP rivals to “join him in backing President Trump,” Kemp’s campaign noted that he applauded Trump’s border plan on April 4.
“Welcome to the party!” said Kemp spokesman Ryan Mahoney. “Better late than never.”
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