In a bold move, Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs took decisive action on the pressing issue of border security by signing an executive order to deploy the National Guard to the state’s southern border with Mexico.
This step, taken on December 15, came in response to what Governor Hobbs perceives as a significant lapse in federal government action. “Yet again, the federal government is refusing to do its job to secure our border and keep our communities safe,” Ms. Hobbs, a Democrat, expressed in a press release.
Strategic Deployment and Mission
The National Guard’s mission is multifaceted, aiming to bolster the efforts of both the Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement.
They will be strategically stationed at critical points along the border, notably near the Lukeville Port of Entry and the San Miguel crossing.
Their primary responsibilities include assisting in fentanyl interdiction, providing analytical support, and strengthening human trafficking enforcement. “With this Executive Order, I am taking action where the federal government won’t,” Governor Hobbs declared, highlighting the state’s initiative in addressing the border crisis.
Funding and Federal Inaction
A significant concern for Arizona has been the apparent inaction of the Biden administration in responding to Governor Hobbs’ requests for financial support for border security measures. “Despite continued requests for assistance, the Biden administration has refused to deliver desperately needed resources to Arizona’s border,” Governor Hobbs remarked.
This situation has been exacerbated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) decision to close the Lukeville Point of Entry on December 4, redirecting resources to tackle the increasing illegal smuggling of migrants at other border locations.
Governor’s Plea for Support
In an effort to mitigate the burgeoning border crisis, Governor Hobbs reached out directly to President Joe Biden on December 8.
She urged the reassignment of approximately 243 National Guard members from the Tucson region to assist in reopening the Lukeville Port of Entry.
“Further, to the extent it is necessary, I am requesting that additional National Guard members currently on federal active duty orders be reassigned to Arizona to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection to reopen the Lukeville Port of Entry,” she stated in her letter.
Additionally, Governor Hobbs requested federal reimbursement for over $512 million, a sum accrued by Arizona due to what she describes as “federal border inaction.”
The Partisan Divide and Nationwide Impact
Border security remains a deeply polarizing topic, often split along party lines. Republicans generally advocate for more stringent border control measures, while Democrats tend to focus on the humanitarian aspects of immigration, emphasizing the needs of migrants and asylum-seekers.
This issue has also placed pressure on President Biden from within his own party, with mayors of major cities like Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York calling for increased funding and action to alleviate their cities’ immigration challenges.
The Current State of Border Affairs
The border situation continues to be a critical concern, with CBP reporting 232,972 migrant encounters in August alone, a significant increase from the previous month.
The Tucson sector, a key area in this crisis, saw approximately 50,000 of these encounters. The challenges are not only in managing the influx of migrants but also in ensuring their safety, as evidenced by the 3,212 rescues conducted by the agency, contributing to a total of 29,365 rescues for the year.
In conclusion, Governor Hobbs’ decision to deploy the National Guard to the Arizona-Mexico border underscores the state’s commitment to addressing the border crisis. With federal assistance still pending, Arizona stands at a critical juncture in balancing border security and humanitarian needs.