DES MOINES, Iowa (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday it’s likely Iowa taxpayers will pay the cost of sending 28 Iowa Department of Public Safety officers to assist Texas officials at the U.S.-Mexico border from July 10 through 20.
Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens estimated the total cost at around $300,000 but said $100,000 of that would have been salaries paid to the officers if they’d remained in Iowa, so about $200,000 of the cost is attributable to mission costs in Texas.
A spokesman for Reynolds earlier had suggested Texas may reimburse Iowa but Reynolds said Wednesday that although there may be federal funds to help pay, as of now “it looks like it would be the responsibility of Iowa.”
Reynolds was among a number of Republican governors who sent staff to the border at the request of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican. As the governors deployed the state employees, they criticized the policies of Democratic President Joe Biden.
“This crisis at the border was, and remains, a humanitarian crisis with consequences that reach far beyond Texas and Arizona. While the majority of those attempting to enter the country illegally are single adults, we also know a significant number of children are being cruelly exploited by coyote smugglers and bad actors of all sorts. To criminals like these, our border looks like an open invitation and it’s vulnerable migrants and law abiding citizens who are paying the price,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds justified the expense, saying problems at the border have contributed to issues in other states and Iowa, which she said has seen an increase in illegal drug trafficking including fentanyl.
“It is an investment that I believe was well spent in helping really secure the southern border and the humanitarian efforts that were put into place. I felt it was the right thing to do,” she said.
She said Iowa will continue to evaluate the needs on the border and whether Iowa law enforcement might be useful again to officials there.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)