Earlier this month, I deployed members of the Iowa State Patrol to the U.S. Southern border to support law enforcement and border security efforts on a 14-day mission called “Operation Lone Star.”

While some thought it was necessary to portray this mission as controversial, for me, the rationale was obvious. As the federal government under President Biden ignores its constitutional duty to secure the border – and Texas law enforcement is overwhelmed as a result – states like Iowa must act.

With border crossings at a record high, we have seen individuals from as many as 88 different countries attempt to cross the border – including high-level criminals and even people listed on terror watch lists.

To make matters worse, the crisis at the border isn’t staying at the border. From January to May of this year, the quantity of the lethal narcotic fentanyl seized in Iowa increased by a staggering 1100%, even as the amount seized at the border continues to mount month-after-month. These aren’t just numbers; lives are on the line. Last year, fentanyl overdoses increased in Iowa by 20%.

During their mission, Iowa State Patrol provided humanitarian aid, provided tactical support to the Texas Department of Public Safety, patrolled dangerous streets, and deployed SWAT-trained troopers to pursue and detain illegal immigrants in the desert. They successfully increased law enforcement’s visibility in crime-ridden border towns, confiscated illegal weapons and drugs, and thwarted human traffickers.

It’s clear that Biden’s “Open and Lawless Border” policy is not only a magnet for illegal immigrants and their exploiters; it’s also an open invitation to criminals and bad actors of all stripes.

Vulnerable immigrants and law-abiding citizens alike are paying the price of President Biden’s open border radicalism. I couldn’t be prouder of Iowa’s law enforcement for stepping up and helping to fill the void he has left.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds