Joe Sneve, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, April 14, 2021
South Dakota is home to an estimated 5,000 undocumented immigrants.
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.
“My message to illegal immigrants… call me when you’re an American,” the governor wrote on the social media website Twitter.
Ian Fury, Noem’s spokesman, said Wednesday morning that the Governor’s Office hasn’t received a direct request by the Biden administration to house migrant children awaiting processing of asylee petitions, but the governor is “sending the message” that should one be made, it will be denied.
Hundreds of unaccompanied immigrant children have been released in South Dakota in recent years, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And 20 arrived between October 2020 and February 2021.
Fury said the governor’s comments were not directed at non-citizens with legal status.
“Gov. Noem welcomes legal immigrants to South Dakota,” he said.