Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent a joint letter to the governors of the 48 other states asking them to send additional law enforcement staff and resources to help patrol their states’ borders with Mexico.
Ducey published a copy of the letter on Thursday afternoon, timing its publication with a border summit that Abbott kicked off in Del Rio, Texas.
In their letter, both Republican governors claim the administration of President Joe Biden “has proven unwilling or unable” to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, citing a 20-year high in migrant encounters in the month of May as evidence of an “open-border disaster.”
“Of course, border states like Texas and Arizona are ‘ground zero’ for this crisis and bear a disproportionate share of these burdens,” the two-page letter said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said on Wednesday they had encountered 180,034 migrants during the month of May. But nearly 62 percent of them were turned away under pandemic public health restrictions.
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Thursday’s letter described efforts both governors have taken to boost border security in their respective states, including the deployment of the National Guard and state resources, such as the Border Strike Force in Arizona.
But the two governors said more needed to be done.
Ducey and Abbott declared emergencies when deploying the National Guard. They invoked an Emergency Management Assistance Compact under the declaration to request additional law enforcement from other states in response to the influx and “the accompanying threats to private property and to the safety of our citizens,” the letter said.
They called on other governors to send law enforcement manpower, as well as resources such as drones and helicopters, to help patrol the border.
“Crucially, this will include the power to arrest migrants who illegally cross the border into our territory” in violation of state and federal crimes, the letter added.
Details about the logistics of deploying law enforcement personnel to the Arizona and Texas border, including questions about costs, responsibilities and who they would work under, were not immediately available.
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“Our efforts will only be effective if we work together to secure the border, make criminal arrests, protect landowners, rid our communities of dangerous drugs, and provide Texans with the support they need and deserve,” Abbott said Thursday in a written statement.
CJ Karamargin, a Ducey spokesperson, said there was no question as to where the two governors stood when it came to border security and said the end goal is to restore safety to border communities.
“All across Arizona, people shouldn’t feel threatened by cartels, and drugs smugglers, and human traffickers,” he said.
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The plan to have other states send in additional law enforcement to patrol the border and arrest migrants in Arizona and Texas is likely to receive pushback, especially from Democrats and progressive advocacy groups.
Neither the White House nor the U.S. Department of Homeland Security could be reached for comment late Thursday.
Vicki Gaubeca is the executive director for the Southern Border Communities Coalition, which represents more than 60 community and advocacy organizations along the U.S.-Mexico border.
She said that instead of proposing new, effective solutions, Ducey and Abbott were creating hysteria and feeding into harmful narratives about migrants and border communities.
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“When I see them describe, kind of paint a broad stroke on all of these individuals as being criminals, which is a typical fear tactic, it rustles people up and scares them,” she said. “When the reality is the vast majority of people coming to the border are only trying to seek safety from criminal elements.”
But at least some elected leaders in southern Arizona expressed support for Ducey and Abbott’s plans to bring in additional law enforcement support to the border.
Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels said current statistics, including in his border county, showed that “we’re in an epidemic,” he said.
While he has questions about the specifics of the plan, the sheriff said he was pleased to hear that governors talk about the need for a “manageable, secure border” and would wait on the governor to provide those details at the right time.
Dannels praised Ducey’s decision to deploy the National Guard to the Arizona border. He has 32 guard members assigned to the sheriff’s office helping operate and monitor cameras and assisting at their detention center, which he said has been a huge help for rural departments like his.
“What is amazing, with everything that is going on in the border, one thing that doesn’t stop is our general crime calls where we have to respond to domestic and the other calls for services,” Dannels said. “That continues on every day, and so having that extra resource in non-enforcement roles is truly a blessing for us.”
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Other details about the timeline of when law enforcement personnel from other states could arrive and be deployed at the Arizona and Texas borders also remained unclear, although Karamargin said there was some urgency.
Ducey and Abbott’s letter also did not establish benchmarks on how to measure the success of their request to bring in additional law enforcement to the border.
“We’ve seen numbers go up since the beginning of the year. A reversal of that trend is probably the best indication,” Karamargin said.
Have any news tips or story ideas about immigration or the U.S.-Mexico border? Reach the reporter at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter at @RafaelCarranza.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Doug Ducey, Greg Abbott call on other states to help patrol border