Tens of thousands of people are flooding over the southern border of the United States, many of them into Arizona. Much effort is made to spin the numbers in one way or the other, including seasonal averages and effects of the pandemic. But it is obvious that words and actions of President Joe Biden, before and after his inauguration, have led to more people headed to the border, crossing it and remaining in the United States. Arizona and other border states are feeling some negative effects, and Gov. Doug Ducey is right to be concerned.
As we’ve said before, the fact that the illegal entry is being managed by Mexican drug cartels is harmful, especially to the people paying them for transit. But fixing this situation is mostly beyond the scope of what state and local authorities can do.
However, Ducey is sending 250 National Guard troops to serve in supportive, non-enforcement roles at the border. While this may be seen as grandstanding, it will do some good and has been used successfully in the past.
Ducey said in his announcement of the deployment that there have been more than 170,000 apprehensions along the border this year, including almost 19,000 unaccompanied minors, higher than the numbers in prior years. He declared an emergency in Cochise, Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yuma counties and authorized the adjutant general of the Arizona National Guard to deploy as many troops as needed to accomplish goals. He mentioned that the troops would assist with medical operations in detention centers, install and maintain border cameras, monitor and collect data from public safety cameras, and analyze satellite imagery for current trends.
Pinal, while not on the border, includes a major smuggling corridor on and near the interstate highways. Frequent fast driving of heavily loaded vehicles is making the roads more hazardous.
Ducey’s action has gotten at least some bipartisan support. This week the state’s two Democratic senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, called for the federal government to reimburse $25 million for the state’s expenses and also to provide more resources at the border.
All of this shows the problem is real, and politicians know that their constituents realize it is real.
— Donovan Kramer Jr.