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More Noem Posturing: Guards Probably Not Targeting Major Sources of Sex Slaves or Drugs

While ignoring her own security concerns to stage a photo opp with her ideological border mercenaries, Governor Kristi Noem invokes the usual radical-right border bugaboos to justify her militaristic posturing, claiming that our National Guard will help stop human trafficking and illegal drugs that are flowing into America and South Dakota from Mexico.

However, the southern border is the source of hardly any human trafficking in the U.S.:

So our research shows that the trafficking problem in San Diego County is, by far, more local, domestic than it is across the border. In our study, we found 80% of the survivors, 450 survivors that we interviewed, were born and raised in the United States. And of those 20% that were born outside the United States, very few of them were actually trafficked across the border. We know that trafficking does happen across the border. Unfortunately, people conflate smuggling and trafficking all the time. Human trafficking is very specific to having been forced through fraud or coercion – been brought across the border, not by getting someone’s help to come across the border [Jamie Gates, Center for Justice and Reconciliation, Point Loma Nazarene University, interviewed by Sarah McCammon, “Human Trafficking and the Southern Border,” NPR: Weekend Edition Saturday, 2019.06.29].

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a main driver of human trafficking in South Dakota. Rallygoers aren’t importing sex slaves from Mexico; they’re dragging them across the reservation borders right here in South Dakota. Will Noem dispatch soldiers to Sturgis next month to keep our own people safe from this scourge?

Illegal drugs do move across our border, but well over 90% of that drug flow comes through legal ports of entry and the mail:

MARTIN: So, first of all, just walk me through it. How do most illegal drugs enter the U.S.?

KERLIKOWSKE: So the drugs that are actually taking the lives of people here in the United States – methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, fentanyl – almost universally come through the ports of entry along the southern border – so that is people that carry them on their bodies or even in their bodies or cars or vehicles. And then the second way is through the international postal mail service.

MARTIN: And when you say most, what do you mean? Like, 50 percent, 60 percent, 90 percent?

KERLIKOWSKE: Oh, well over 90 percent. People don’t backpack or try to sneak those drugs across the border between the ports of entry because, one, they could be caught by the Border Patrol. Number two, they don’t really trust those people to do that. So it’s much better for them to have somebody that is taking the drugs through a port of entry where they’re met on the other side of the port here in the United States, and those drugs are immediately taken.

MARTIN: So you’re saying, basically, virtually all of it comes through legal ports of entry [Gil Kerlikowske, former commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, interviewed by Michel Martin, “How Do Illegal Drugs Cross the U.S.-Mexico Border?” NPR: All Things Considered, 2019.04.06].

So will Noem’s Guards be working the legal Customs crossings and shaking down American citizens muling those drugs into the country? Will they be helping sniff through the mail trucks and planes to really curb the entry of illegal drugs? Or will we just get more photo opps when Kristi flies to Texas for her next 2024 political fundraiser and junkets out to the dusty desert to stage some adventure pics with her camo’d Guards and their guns?


  1. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-07-09

    I do wish people would stop using “FOIA” in reference to open records requests to South Dakota state government. The two open-records requests from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington in Leslie’s link above are properly labeled in their formal letters: the letter to Governor Noem seeks state records concerning Willis Johnson’s funding of this posing deployment under SDCL 1-27, while CREW’s request to the National Guard seeks records under the Freedom of Information Act and Department of Defense regulations. CREW only mislabels the request to the state on the webpage linked as a “FOIA” request. The Freedom of Information Act applies to federal records only, not state or local.

  2. 96Tears 2021-07-09

    Sad for the Guards she pimped out. Kristi is desperate. Say what you will about Kristi, but she and The Lew have given us a new twist on “A Star Is Born.”

    Not that a fifth version was necessary: 1937 with Frederic March and Janet Gaynor, 1954 with James Mason and Judy Garland, 1976 with Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Streisand and 2018 with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. In each, a burned out fallen star, played by the male character, enters a romance with a rising star, played by the female. Tragic endings. Female rises while the old hack male sputters into obscurity.

    Enter 2021. Has-been Trump campaign hack Corey Lewendowski taps a self-absorbed female governor from an obscure state (remember that Janet Gaynor was portrayed as a mere farmgirl from North Dakota). After all, Kristi’s looks got her where she is today: Snow Queen, State Legislator, U.S. House of Representatives and Governor from South Dakota.

    But can looks alone carry the day all the way to the top? The Lew said yes. Kristi said yes. And so began their journey, starting right after she very narrowly defeated a West River rancher. The Lew took her for the ride of her life to big donor events and campaign rallies from Georgia to Lake Charles to Montana to Texas to Michigan and Wisconsin and points in between. The Lew, working over the big wigs and hanging up her cowgirl campaign signs. Kristi, posing for selfies and boring folks to tears every time she got in front of a microphone.

    Cue the happy Hollywood music!

    Now for the new twist. The reviews are in from Republican voter polls, as reported in The South Dakota Standard today (by John Tsitrian):

    1 percent in November

    2 percent in December

    Zero percent in June (Trump got 55 percent)

    But hold on! What if Trump wasn’t running in 2024? What then happens to Kristi?

    Worse news for The Lew!

    July 7, 2021, poll by PollTrackerUSA – 2024 National Republican Primary Poll, without Trump:

    DeSantis 24%; Pence 19%; Donald Trump Jr. 15%; Cruz 6%; Romney 5%; Haley 4%; Ivanka Trump 4%; Owens 3%; Liz Cheney 2%; Rubio 2%; Noem 1%; Pompeo 1%; T. Scott 1%; Cotton 1%; Kasich 1% and R. Scott 1%.

    The thrill is gone for The Lew. He picked the wrong horse! Time to find another horse! Or as we title this new twist, “A Star that Never Was.”

  3. mike from iowa 2021-07-09

    The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a main driver of human trafficking in South Dakota. Rallygoers aren’t importing sex slaves from Mexico; they’re dragging them across the reservation borders right here in South Dakota.

    Will Noem prohibit motorcycles in Sturgis if she is serious about stopping human trafficking?

  4. O 2021-07-09

    What (other than photo ops) really is our Guard ordered to do at the border? Will they repel anyone who comes to the border? Will they be acting independently, or will they be under the jurisdiction of the federal immigration agents there? If INS gives them orders that are counter to the Governor’s, who do they follow?

    A Christian would have used the funding to help welcome families, women, children (or cynically, workers) to better circumstances in SD than how they are being held now at the border.

  5. O 2021-07-09

    I am looking forward to the next Sturgis Rally when someone rents out another state’s National Guard to come to SD and keep the human trafficking and drug use under control.

  6. Arlo Blundt 2021-07-09

    Well…the Sturgis Bike Rally is a money making son of a gun and who gets the money has always been a question. The people of South Dakota settle for sales tax and traffic fine revenue but at what cost is the massive deployment of police whose job is to just keep the lid on. After expenses the State of South Dakota gets peanuts. We’re not hosting this mess for the money, or if we are, we’re fooling ourselves if we think its a windfall of tax dollars.

  7. Mark Anderson 2021-07-09

    What makes South Dakota famous, Mount Rushmore, Sturgis, swearing in Deadwood. Kristi Noem is using the first two to create her own fictional persona not unlike Deadwood for the core trumpies. If she could just throw in the Hot Springs in the morning they might vote for her.

  8. bearcreekbat 2021-07-09

    Mark, perhaps Noem could reverse your idea and accomplish that goal with the old honeymoon vacation slogan: “Hot Springs tonight Deadwood in the morning.”

  9. Mark Anderson 2021-07-09

    Bearcreekbat, I was referring to that but since I’m woke I didn’t dare say it. Although I did spend my honeymoon in the hills.

  10. Richard Schriever 2021-07-09

    Arlo – Well…the hiring of cheap migrant labor is a money making son of a gun and who gets the money has never been a question.

  11. M 2021-07-10

    Hey O that is a great suggestion. Maybe get the Iowa National Guard. A high number of sex slaves from South Dakota end up in shelters in the greater state of Iowa where they are treated with great care. Unlike South Dakota that hosts a rally where demand for this sickening behavior is high and always has been. Just ignored because that’s how S.D. treats women in general and native women more so.

    A male relative cop told me one time. “All women are prostitutes. Some get paid and others don’t.” Yep, that’s South Dakota. I guess our governor is one that gets paid.

  12. Anne Beal 2021-07-10

    If the Secretary Mayorkas and Governor Abbot request the assistance of the SDNG in Texas, it’s not up to Governor Noem to decide what they do when they get there.

    I am surprised this needs to be explained.

  13. leslie 2021-07-10

    Noem should use “judgement” or even wisdom before complying. IASTNTBE!

    It is almost as if Republican politics of leaving unexploded “IEDs” for the Biden administration to disarm, then weaponizing Democratic solutions crafted to do so, are especially devious. For example:

    1) the border debacle Trump created in 2015-16. Trump up ends the border overnight. And Mexico will pay for a wall? Pssffsstt!

    And 2) Afghanistan. Bush’s war.

    “On 15 February 2018, The New York Times reported the rise of Afghan civilians being intentionally targeted by the Taliban, based on an annual United Nations report released a week earlier. This report offered a detailed assessment of the 16-year Afghan war, showing the rise of complex bombing attacks deliberately targeting civilians in 2017, having 10,453 Afghan civilians wounded or killed.[160] As the US and Afghan government are publishing fewer statistics, the U.N. report is one of the most reliable indicators about the war’s impact by 2018. The report emphasizes … a type of suicide assault that is becoming more deadly….
    These attacks are referred to as the Taliban’s ferocious response to US President Trump’s new strategy of war (an increased pace of aerial bombardments targeting Taliban and Islamic State Militants), giving the message that the Taliban can strike at will, even in the capital city, Kabul.”

    Erik Prince, the private military contractor and former head of Blackwater, advocated additional privatization of the war.[162][163]

    On 29 February [2020] the United States and the Taliban signed a conditional peace deal in Doha, Qatar[97] that called for a prisoner exchange within ten days and was supposed to lead to U.S. troops withdrawal from Afghanistan within 14 months.[98][186] However, the Afghan government was not a party to the deal, and in a press conference the next day, President Ghani criticized the deal for being “signed behind closed doors.” He said the Afghan government had “made no commitment to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners” and that such an action “is not the United States’ authority, but it is the authority of the government of Afghanistan.”[187][188][189][190]

    “In August 2020, U.S. intelligence officials assessed that Iran offered bounties to the Taliban-linked Haqqani network to kill foreign servicemembers, including Americans, in Afghanistan.[212][213] U.S. intelligence determined that Iran paid bounties to Taliban insurgents for the 2019 attack on Bagram airport.[214] According to CNN, Donald Trump’s administration has “never mentioned Iran’s connection to the bombing, an omission current and former officials said was connected to the broader prioritization of the peace agreement and withdrawal from Afghanistan[disambiguation needed].”[212]


    “In November 2020, the White House told the Pentagon to begin planning to bring the troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq down to 2,500 each by 15 January, just days before President Donald Trump would leave office. This came one week after Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper for pushing back on Trump’s efforts to accelerate the Afghanistan drawdown against the advice of military commanders, including the U.S. and coalition commander Austin S. Miller, setting off a purge of top Pentagon officials.[219][220]”

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