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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds greets kindergarten students before going on a tour of Kingsley Elementary School in Waterloo, Iowa, Friday, April 6, 2018.

BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

WATERLOO -- Gov. Kim Reynolds said Friday that Iowa would send National Guard troops to the Mexican border if President Donald Trump's administration requests the assistance.

"We haven't been asked yet, but yes," she said while attending an event at Kingsley Elementary School.

She noted Trump isn't the first president to send National Guard troops to the border. Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush both did, as well -- Bush from 2006-2008 and Obama from 2010-2012.

The Republican president Wednesday signed a proclamation ordering the deployment of the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration. He wants the troops to secure the southern border until his promised wall is built. Congress has not authorized the funding Trump has sought for a wall.

"It's important that we secure our border," said Reynolds. The Republican called border security the federal government's "number one responsibility."

Iowa's two Republican U.S. senators also weighed in on the issue Friday with support for the president's plan.

"It makes sense," Sen. Charles Grassley said while in Cedar Rapids. "The same way it made sense when Bush did it and Obama did it."

He added border security is not simply a wall. "It's some wall, it's some electronic surveillance, it's more border patrol, it is drones," said Grassley. "Anything you can do to make sure people can't come into our country unless they're documented."

He suggested comprehensive immigration reform won't happen until the U.S. has border security.

In a statement, Sen. Joni Ernst said, "The National Guard represents some of the best men and women we have, equipped and trained to tackle these challenges and assist the U.S. Border Patrol." She is a former lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard.

"The reality is, the border remains unsecured -- meaning that drugs and crime continue to flow into the United States while illegal immigration and human trafficking flourish," she added. "We must act."

Mitchell Schmidt of The Cedar Rapids Gazette contributed to this story.

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Waterloo Schools / HCC Reporter

Education reporter for the Courier

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