The deal under which Nebraska sent state troops to the Texas-Mexico border does not include any provision allowing Texas to pay the estimated cost of $ 334,000, according to documents obtained by The World- Herald.
A statement from Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska State Patrol said there was still a possibility that the state would be reimbursed. But it is not known how this would happen.
Ricketts is one of several GOP governors who sent law enforcement in response to requests from the governors of Arizona and Texas, who are also Republicans. The governors of border states sent a letter on June 10 asking other governors to send all available law enforcement “to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity”, citing a “crisis” at the border.
A deployment-related agreement states that Nebraska will not seek reimbursement from Texas. A spokesperson for the patrol previously said funding was not finalized and the cost of previous deployments like this, carried out under the Interstate Emergency Management Assistance Pact, had been reimbursed. The pact is a mutual aid agreement that allows states to share resources in the event of an emergency.
The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency released public documents related to the World-Herald’s mission on Friday afternoon.
In a joint statement, Ricketts’ office and the patrol said a source of funding had not been finalized and repayment was still possible.
“The language of the agreement has been included to expedite the deployment,” the statement said. “The State of Nebraska continues to work with Texas and no funding source has been finalized. If the opportunity arises, the state will seek a refund. The state has the resources to pay for the deployment if the refund is ultimately not available. “
However, the documents show that there was no apparent expectation that Texas and Arizona would bear the costs of other states.
The two states called for help from states across the country “to provide the resources necessary to help meet the federal government’s responsibility to secure the southern border” and called on assisting states to cover associated costs. . The Texas Department of Public Safety has asked 500 state troops to support its border operations, the documents show.
Cost estimates for Nebraska soldiers are not final, wrote patrol spokesman Cody Thomas in an email.
“The final costs will be determined once the deployment is complete,” he wrote. “As with any operation, the real-time costs are paid through the NSP budget.”
Nebraska costs will likely be higher than the estimate of $ 334,000. Personnel costs estimated in the agreement cover 16 days for 26 personnel, and the initial 16-day deployment has been extended for some of the soldiers.
Nebraska has agreed to deploy 25 troops, including leadership and logistics support, according to the documents. The team would include “marked or unmarked means of transport to transport, patrol and command the element”, and officers would be “equipped with standard police equipment in tactical uniforms appropriate to the environmental conditions”.
Although the agreement at one point said around 26 patrol boats would be assigned to the mission, Thomas confirmed on Friday that the team included 25 soldiers and no civilian personnel.
Documents show that the mission was to last from June 18 to July 25. Thomas said in an email that the agreement sets out a “rough timeline for a potential deployment” and further discussion with Texas officials on specified dates.
Ricketts announced the deployment on June 19. A few soldiers went on June 24 to organize logistics, according to Thomas. The others traveled on June 27 and started working on June 28, he said. Their voluntary deployment was initially scheduled to last up to 16 days. Last week, however, the governor announced that 15 soldiers would stay an additional two weeks while the rest returned home.
Total estimated costs for the mission, according to the agreement, include $ 83,912 related to travel, $ 234,554 for personnel and $ 15,546 for things such as water, fuel, snacks and clothing.
Travel costs included approximately $ 29,760 for accommodation, $ 26,352 for meals and tips (per diem) and $ 19,500 for air transportation. The estimated cost of salary, benefits and overtime, per person per day, ranged from $ 444 to $ 815.
In all capital letters and closed with asterisks, the agreement reads: “NEBRASKA WILL NOT REQUEST A REFUND OF COSTS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS – COST ESTIMATES ARE ONLY INCLUDED FOR FUTURE AUDIT PURPOSES”
The agreement provided to the World-Herald does not have the signature of a state official. However, Earl Imler, head of the preparedness and operations section at the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, confirmed that it was the same as the final agreement. This agency serves as a point of contact to facilitate agreements related to the interstate pact.
The documents reveal little about the specific activities of the Nebraska soldiers during their deployment. The agreement provides that the State of Texas will grant law enforcement “the same powers, rights and privileges of arrest and law enforcement while operating within the limits of the State of Texas as those who are normally granted to the law enforcement agencies of the State of Texas ”.
Texas Public Safety last month refused to provide specific insight into what Nebraska soldiers would do and denied a World-Herald reporter request for a car ride. The Nebraska State Patrol also provided few details – a description of the mission was compiled from documents obtained by The World-Herald, which Imler said was due to security concerns.
In his initial announcement of the deployment, Ricketts cited “the disastrous policies of the Biden-Harris administration” for creating “an immigration crisis at the border.” The federal government failed, he said, but Nebraska was “happy to step in” to help.
Critics such as State Democratic Party Chairman Jane Kleeb and Rose Godinez, Nebraska ACLU legal and policy adviser, said the deployment was political and called for more transparency.
The state patrol estimated Friday that it would cost $ 22,300 and that it would take about six months to respond to the World-Herald’s public documents request for correspondence from officials related to the deployment; employee correspondence regarding the activities the soldiers will undertake; and records relating to the cost and payment of the deployment.
After documents were released to The Associated Press, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said Iowa would cover the cost of deploying its troops. She said Iowa sent 29 troops for 16 days, according to AP.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem deployed National Guard troops using a private donation from a Republican donor, according to the Washington Post. Earlier this month, Taylor Gage, Ricketts’ press secretary, said in an email that Nebraska “has not been offered a similar opportunity.”