The Biden administration’s complete neglect of the border has led to the worst border crisis in over two decades. This is directly impacting Arizona’s communities.
Already this year, border officials have seized almost 2,000 pounds of fentanyl and over 13,000 pounds of methamphetamine in Arizona’s border sectors alone. Our law enforcement officers are the best of the best, but they aren’t able to stop every pound of drugs that comes through our borders. Lethal drugs are slipping through the cracks and into our communities. Fentanyl overdoses have replaced car accidents as the leading cause of death for people aged 19 and younger in Pima County.
The border crisis has also led to a drastic rise in crime in our streets. Because our border sheriffs have to spread their personnel between the border and the rest of their counties, there are far fewer officers patrolling our streets and keeping Arizonans safe. Homicides in Tucson are up almost 60 percent compared to this time last year. Again, law enforcement officers work around the clock to protect Arizona’s communities. But they can only do so much when thousands of migrants are flooding into the country every month.
On September 20, Governor Ducey and 25 fellow governors requested an urgent meeting with President Biden to find meaningful solutions to the border crisis. Their hope was to meet with the president and his team directly to discuss actions the administration can take.
The White House never bothered to respond to or even acknowledge the letter.
Because of the inaction from the Biden administration, border states have had to handle the crisis on their own. Governor Ducey has taken numerous actions to protect Arizona’s communities as the federal government remains missing in action.
Border Strike Force
Arizona’s Border Strike Force has been fighting criminal activity along the border and in Arizona communities since its creation by Governor Ducey in 2015, the first year of his administration.
The mission of the Border Strike Force, a division of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, is to protect Arizonans by stopping the flow of criminals, narcotics, weapons and ammunition trafficked in the state. During the months of May and June 2021, Border Strike Force operations resulted in the seizure of:
Nearly 360 pounds of marijuana;
More than 55 pounds of heroin;
Nearly 15 pounds of cocaine;
Nearly 510 pounds of methamphetamine;
Nearly 180 pounds of fentanyl;
More than 20 firearms;
Nearly 760 rounds of ammunition; and
Approximately 10 vehicles.
Arizona National Guard
In April, Governor Ducey issued a Declaration of Emergency and announced he would be deploying the Arizona National Guard to the state’s southern border to support local law enforcement efforts.
The following day, Governor Ducey and a delegation of state lawmakers toured Arizona’s border in Yuma and received a briefing on the escalating humanitarian and security crisis from Border Patrol, local law enforcement and community leaders.
In June, the Arizona Legislature passed and Governor Ducey signed the FY 2022 budget, which included $25 million in state funding for the National Guard border mission and $30 million to assist law enforcement with border security operations, in addition to existing funding for the Border Strike Force.
In August, Governor Ducey announced a one-year extension of the Arizona National Guard’s border security mission. The extension means law enforcement officers serving along the border will continue to receive much-needed support as they work to defend against criminal activity.
In August, Governor Ducey called for the resignation of Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas following explosive leaked comments in which Mayorkas called the border crisis “unsustainable,” said “these numbers cannot continue” and said “if our borders are the first line of defense, we’re going to lose.”
“Today we are seeing the truth of what’s playing out behind closed doors — what the federal government isn’t telling the American people,” Governor Ducey said. “Chaos, dysfunction and a defeatist attitude have infiltrated the highest level of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This administration has completely lost control of the border. And with his comments, Secretary Mayorkas demonstrated that he fully understands the catastrophe playing out at the border, and yet he lacks the skill, ability and will to address it adequately.”
In July, Governor Ducey successfully lobbied the Biden administration to continue Title 42 border protections and called on Congress to protect Title 42 from future Biden interference.