South Dakota is home to an estimated 5,000 immigrants in the country illegally.
But Gov. Kristi Noem says those people, along with any migrants right now in custody of the federal government at the southern border, are not welcome in South Dakota.
“South Dakota won’t be taking any illegal immigrants that the Biden Administration wants to relocate,” the first-term governor wrote on social media Wednesday morning.
The post comes in reaction to media reports that President Joe Biden’s administration is seeking to fly migrants who’ve arrived at the southern border to northern and coastal states.
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In recent weeks, there’s been an uptick in unaccompanied migrant children to the border, and the federal government has struggled to process them out of short-term holding facilities to temporary facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services.
But South Dakota won’t be a willing partner in those efforts if Noem has anything to do with it.
“My message to illegal immigrants… call me when you’re an American,” the governor wrote on Twitter.
It’s unclear if South Dakota is included on the White House’s list of potential relocation sites or if there’s been conversations between the state and the federal government regarding the matter.
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Ian Fury, a spokesman for Noem, said the governor’s tweet was directed at the Biden administration’s efforts to relocate migrants in custody at the border, but South Dakota welcomes non-American citizens who are in the country legally.
“Gov. Noem welcomes legal immigrants to South Dakota,” he said.