Gov. Spencer Cox briefs reporters on his weekend trip to Eagles Pass, Texas outside this residence at the Kearns Mansion in downtown Salt Lake City (Image Courtesy of Facebook).

SALT LAKE CITY – In an early evening press conference outside the Kearns Mansion in Salt Lake City on Feb. 4, Gov. Spencer Cox emphasized that Texas’ ongoing battle with the federal government over southern border security is also Utah’s fight.

“We’ve all heard several governors say that every state is a border state right now,“ Cox told reporters.

With 3.2 million illegal immigrants crossing the southern border in 2023 and more than 2 million the previous year, Cox said the resources of all states to absorb those numbers are being overwhelmed.

“Regardless of your politics – and I can tell you that I’m hearing from Democratic mayors and governors for the first time admitting that (illegal immigration) is a crisis – we should all be concerned about this issue.”

Cox’s remarks came after he completed a flying visit to the embattled town of Eagle Pass with 13 other Republican governors to meet with Texas Gov. Greg Abbot and be briefed by officials of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the state’s Military Department.

We should all be putting pressure on the president of the United States to do his job and enforce the (immigration) laws already on the books,” Cox said.

While acknowledging that Congress has a role to play in border enforcement, Cox said that President Joe Biden must “first and foremost” fulfill his constitutional responsibility to protect the country.

But it’s business as usual on Capitol Hill in Washington, according to the inside-the-Beltway website Roll Call.

While Cox was in Texas over the weekend, Senate negotiators unveiled a $118.3 billion bill with emergency national security funding for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and others, which would also reform immigration policies on the southern border.

But House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has been calling the Senate proposal “dead on arrival” in the House for weeks.

Instead, the House has proposed a $17.6 billion bill for supplemental funding for Israel and U.S. troops in the Middle East, while demanding that the Senate accept the comprehensive immigration reform package embodied in House Resolution 2, which passed last spring.

U.S. Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), who is now campaigning to succeed Mitt Romney in the Senate, voted in favor of HR 2 and agreed with Cox that states and cities were reaching the breaking point in terms of providing resources to illegal immigrants.

During a recent visit to Logan, Curtis said that he had heard that the liberal city of Denver had committed 10 percent of its total finances to providing housing and food benefits to illegals there.

The Denver Gazette confirms what Curtis had heard, as that the city is struggling to accommodate more than 36,000 illegals who arrived there in 2023.

Until recently, hundreds camped in an illegal tent city, but now live in apartments or group housing.

Denver will spend $180 million – 10 percent of its annual budget — giving illegal immigrants housing, food and other services.

But the city’s coffers may not suffice to prevent collapse of Denver Health, where 8,000 illegal aliens had 20,000 free hospital visits at a cost of $136 million.

“Utah is a state that loves immigrants and refugees,” Cox said. “We are, I believe, the most welcoming state in the country.”

But even Utah’s famed generosity is being strained by the lack of border enforcement, he added.

“Part of stopping illegal immigration is fixing the country’s legal immigration system,” Cox said. “We’ve incentivized all the wrong things and that’s putting peoples’ lives at risk.

“It’s just not a good way to run a country.”

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