SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Governor Kristi Noem is defending some of her recent executive orders and controversial tweets.
KELOLAND News reported on a number of them in the past couple of weeks and gotten reaction from people and organizations on everything from immigration to vaccine passports.
Friday, while in Sioux Falls, Governor Noem explained what’s behind her decisions.
The governor helped kickoff Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken’s 100 mile challenge by running in it, along side her husband and the mayor.
Noem feels staying physically fit is important, especially during the pandemic to help fight the virus.
“After the last year and what we’ve been through with a lot of people struggling to be healthy and to stay safe this gave us a reason to be outside in the sunshine and to enjoy each other,” Noem said.
The governor says she kept South Dakota open during the pandemic and recently issued an executive order banning a vaccine passport in order to visit the state.
“I think people are kind of relieved, the last year in South Dakota I’ve trusted them to use personal responsibility to make the best decisions for their families and this is just a continuation of that same thought process,” Noem said.
Noem was heavily criticized when she tweeted about immigration telling illegal immigrants to ‘Call me when you’re an American.’
KELOLAND News asked her why she felt the need to tweet that.
“We did participate in refugee programs under President Trump, but at the time those folks were being vetted, there were background checks being done and we knew specifically who was coming into the state of South Dakota, that’s not happening anymore and we know people who are on the terrorist watch list are coming into the United States and we need to make sure who we are letting stay in our communities really is someone who wants to be a part of the community and not do harm,” Noem said.
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s website, the CBP has a database that allows them to run criminal background checks on people apprehended at the border and access records collected by U.S. and foreign authorities.
CBP routinely publishes data on immigrants who attempted to enter the country and have a criminal record.