Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are seeking aid and resources from other states around the country to help solve the border crisis.
In a joint letter to the 48 other governors, Ducey and Abbott asked for additional law enforcement staff and resources to plug up the Mexico border and arrest illegally crossing migrants.
The Republican governors argue that President Biden’s administration is “unwilling or unable” to secure the U.S.-Mexico border citing a two-decade record high number of illegal border crossings in May. Ducey argued that the influx of migrants carries “accompanying threats to private property and to the safety of our citizens.”
Ducey prefaced the letter with a tweet that read, “The # of illegal border crossings this fiscal year is already the most since 2006. This is a crisis, our law enforcement professionals need help.”
In the letter, the governors called Texas and Arizona “ground zero” for a nexus of illegal border crossings including people from Senegal, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan – not just central America – as well as human trafficking and fentanyl drug smuggling.
According to AZ Central, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said they had encountered around 180,034 migrants in May.
Abbott declared the situation a “disaster” and Ducey declared an “emergency,” even going so far as deploying the National Guard. The letter then called for mutual assistance from other states backed by the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. Under the Compact, law enforcement from different states can provide assistance to each other during an emergency. The governors said they are in need of additional law enforcement personnel and equipment such as drones and helicopters.
“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 reads.
Abbott said in a statement: “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.”
The plan proposed in the letter is likely to receive pushback from democrats and liberal advocacy groups across the U.S.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick who represents the southeastern Arizona border criticized the plan, saying it was “a continuation of the same inhumane border policies we saw over the last 4 years, which not only proved ineffective, but were antithetical to our values as Americans.”
She went on to call the letter a “political stunt with no intention to solve real issues we’re seeing at our southern border.”
Vicki Gaubeca, the executive director for the Southern Border Communities Coalition said the letter was an attempt to generate fear and hysteria.
“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.”
Local members of law enforcement, however, are supportive of the plan. Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels argued that the current statistics, including in his border county, showed that “we’re in an epidemic,” and was happy to hear the governors talk about the need for a “manageable, secure border.”
Dannels also praised Ducey’s decision to deploy the National Guard to the Arizona border.
“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.”