As the U.S.-Mexico border continues to grapple with an influx of migrants, Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs has taken decisive action to address the ongoing crisis. She recently announced the launch of a new campaign aimed at mobilizing additional state resources to restore order and security to the border region.
Introducing Operation SECURE
In a statement released on December 8, Governor Hobbs unveiled the creation of the Border Security Office as a key component of “Operation SECURE” (Safety, Enforcement, Coordination & Uniform ResponsE).
This strategic initiative is designed to coordinate and consolidate efforts across various agencies and levels of government to enhance border security.
A Hub of Coordination
The newly established Border Security Office, funded with $2 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), will serve as a central hub for coordinating border security operations.
Its primary objective is to ensure that local, state, and federal assets are effectively leveraged to safeguard Arizonans and maintain a secure, humane, and orderly border.
Support for Law Enforcement
Operation SECURE will also allocate up to $5 million to support the National Guard’s involvement in bolstering the efforts of the Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement agencies along the southern border.
This includes initiatives to combat the interdiction of fentanyl, a potent and dangerous synthetic opioid.
Advocating for Lukeville Point of Entry
Governor Hobbs has actively advocated for the reopening of the Lukeville Point of Entry, which was closed due to a recent surge in migrant activity.
She sent a letter to President Biden, urging the use of the 243 National Guard members already stationed in the Tucson Sector to support the reopening of this critical entry point.
Discussions are underway with the federal government to explore options for their deployment under federal orders, which would grant them broader authority to assist Border Patrol efforts.
In her letter to President Biden, Governor Hobbs underscored the humanitarian implications of the Lukeville Port of Entry’s closure, describing it as an “unmitigated humanitarian crisis” and emphasizing its impact on Arizona’s safety and commerce.
A Call for Reimbursement
Governor Hobbs is also seeking reimbursement from the federal government for the substantial financial resources allocated by the state to address border security. She has invoiced the federal government for $512,529,333, representing expenses incurred due to the federal government’s failure to secure the Arizona border.
Moving forward, the state intends to regularly seek reimbursement for these ongoing border operations.
A Complex Situation
As Governor Hobbs takes proactive measures to address the border crisis, more than 2,500 National Guard members remain on federal active duty along the southern border, with approximately 240 of them stationed in the Tucson sector.
The situation at the border continues to evolve, and the governor’s actions reflect a commitment to ensuring the safety and security of Arizona’s residents.