By Guy Page
At his press conference Tuesday, Gov. Phil Scott said concern about opening the northern border stopped him from joining every other Republican governor in a letter to the Biden administration last month urging an end to the unprecedented influx of illegal immigrants on the southern border.
“Governor, why didn’t you sign the letter signed by the 26 other Republican governors protesting the Biden administration’s southern border immigration policies?” the Vermont Daily Chronicle asked.
“At that point in time, we were trying to negotiate with the federal government about opening the northern border, and making some headway,” Scott said. “The southern border, while a situation that was impacting that region dramatically, they thought they had it well in hand. And from my standpoint, it was more about focusing on the northern border. Why would I send a letter when I was trying to encourage them to open up the northern border to open up the economic opportunities for this region? It was a strategic decision on my part to not close the door on the opportunity to open up the border.”
The Chronicle noted that Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire signed the letter.
“I guess he relied on me to make sure we could open up the northern border,” Scott said. He later said his answer about New Hampshire was “a bit flippant” and observed that Vermont has a wider border with Canada than New Hampshire. The U.S. – Canada border is scheduled to reopen to two-way travel on November 8. Visitors from Canada must be vaccinated.
The Republican governors of border states Montana and North Dakota also signed the letter.
Border apprehensions have surged almost 500% since last year and it is essential that federal action is taken immediately, the Republican Governors’ Association said in a September 20 statement. “The President is fully capable of using his office to implement policies that protect Americans from the multitude of problems that stem from the uncontrolled southern border.”
Illegal border crossings through September 20 totalled 1.3 million since Biden took office. That’s more people than the entire population of nine U.S. States. That figure is twice the population of Vermont (650,000).
“Despite the lack of federal action to reverse the crisis, many states have stepped up and committed unprecedented resources to support the security of our national border. We have heard directly from our constituents about the damage this crisis has caused in our states, and it is our duty as elected officials to act swiftly to protect our communities, as it is yours,” the governors said.
“While governors are doing what we can, our Constitution requires that the President must faithfully execute the immigration laws passed by Congress. Not only has the federal government created a crisis, it has left our states to deal with challenges that only the federal government has a duty to solve.”
Scott has been an active supporter of legal immigration, including resettling refugees from Afghanistan and other troubled nations, saying they are needed to enhance Vermont’s too-small labor force. On Oct. 8 he said he is unaware of any plans by the Department of Homeland Security to fly illegal immigrants from the southern border to Vermont for immigration processing.
Categories: National News