Governor Gianforte Leads 25-State Effort Pressing President Biden for Data on Illegal Migrants

Governor's Office
  • September 19 2023

HELENA, Mont. – Leading a group of 25 Republican governors, Governor Greg Gianforte today called on President Joe Biden to provide governors with accurate and detailed information on who is entering the country illegally, where they are relocating, how the federal government is processing their asylum applications, and whether they are being deported.

“The crisis at the southern border extends to every state. As a result of your policies which incentivize illegal immigration, our states are carrying the burden of both the years-long surge in illegal border crossings and cartels’ coordinated trafficking of drugs and human beings,” Gov. Gianforte wrote in a letter to the president with two dozen fellow governors.

“As governors, we call on you to provide honest, accurate, detailed information on where the migrants admitted at the southern border are being relocated in the United States, in addition to comprehensive data on asylum claim timelines and qualification rates, and successful deportations,” they continued.

Since 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has apprehended 5.8 million illegal migrants at the southern border, including 244 individuals on the terrorist watch list. CBP officials estimate another 1.6 million illegal migrants have evaded capture.

Analysts estimate the annual net cost of illegal immigration for the United States at the federal, state, and local levels is at least $150.7 billion.

The governors emphasized this is a bipartisan issue, writing, “Our fellow governor, Democrat Maura Healey of Massachusetts, declared a state of emergency due to the number of migrants in her state, and described the federal government’s mismanagement of immigration as ‘a federal crisis of inaction.’”

The governors also emphasized that cartels continue to exploit the southern border to pour fatal drugs into the United States and expand their human trafficking network.

The governors continued, “Your administration admitted under oath to Congress that cartels prioritize the southern border as a major corridor and exploit it daily for human and narcotics trafficking. Our country cannot tolerate 100,000 deaths every year from a fentanyl crisis fueled by cartels pouring the fatal drug into our communities, nor can it tolerate the horrors of human trafficking and the lifelong scars it leaves on victims.”

Pressing the president for accurate, detailed, and thorough data on illegal migrants in their states, the governors concluded, “Without such information, we cannot fulfill our fundamental duties to protect our citizens while providing our communities with appropriate services.”

Led by Governor Gianforte, additional signatories to the letter include: Gov. Kay Ivey (AL); Gov. Mike Dunleavy (AK); Gov. Sarah Sanders (AR); Gov. Ron DeSantis (FL); Gov. Brian Kemp (GA); Gov. Brad Little (ID); Gov. Eric Holcomb (IN); Gov. Kim Reynolds (IA); Gov. Tate Reeves (MS); Gov. Mike Parson (MO); Gov. Jim Pillen (NE); Gov. Joe Lombardo (NV); Gov. Chris Sununu (NH); Gov. Doug Burgum (ND); Gov. Mike DeWine (OH); Gov. Kevin Stitt (OK); Gov. Henry McMaster (SC); Gov. Kristi Noem (SD); Gov. Bill Lee (TN); Gov. Greg Abbott (TX); Gov. Spencer Cox (UT); Gov. Glenn Youngkin (VA); Gov. Jim Justice (WV); and Gov. Mark Gordon (WY).

The full letter may be viewed here.