Arizona Gov. Sends National Guard to Border, Citing Feds’ Inaction on Migrant Influx

Arizona Gov. Sends National Guard to Border, Citing Feds' Inaction on Migrant Influx

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Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs said the Biden administration has failed to respond to her request for reimbursement for border security spending.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signed an executive order on Friday to deploy National Guard members to the southern border with Mexico to tackle border issues, citing the lack of action from the federal government.

“Yet again, the federal government is refusing to do its job to secure our border and keep our communities safe,” Ms. Hobbs, a Democrat, said in a press release on Dec. 15.

National Guard members will be stationed at multiple locations along the southern border near the Lukeville Port of Entry and the San Miguel crossing. Ms. Hobbs did not specify how many members will be deployed.

They will assist the Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement agencies in dealing with fentanyl interdiction, analytical support, and human trafficking enforcement efforts at the border.

“With this Executive Order, I am taking action where the federal government won’t,” the governor stated.

“But we can’t stand alone, Arizona needs resources and manpower to reopen the Lukeville crossing, manage the flow of migrants, and maintain a secure, orderly, and humane border,” she added.

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Ms. Hobbs said the Biden administration has failed to respond to her request for reimbursement for border security spending.

“Despite continued requests for assistance, the Biden administration has refused to deliver desperately needed resources to Arizona’s border,” the governor stated.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Dec. 4 closed the Lukeville Point of Entry until further notice to redirect resources to increased illegal smuggling of migrants elsewhere on the border.

CBP said it was “surging all available resources to expeditiously and safely process migrants.”

Hobbs Requested Over $512 Million Reimbursement

Ms. Hobbs sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Dec. 8 urging him to reassign National Guard members to assist in reopening the Lukeville Point of Entry.

Ms. Hobbs said the federal government’s decision to close the border entry has led to “an unmitigated humanitarian crisis” and “put Arizona’s safety and commerce at risk.”

In her letter, Ms. Hobbs called on the Biden administration to reassign around 243 National Guard members stationed in the Tucson region to help reopen 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.

Ms. Hobbs also requested the Federal government to reimburse the state for over $512 million in costs incurred as a result of “federal border inaction.”

“Additionally, due to the federal government’s failure to secure our border, the State of Arizona has spent $512,529,333 on border operations including migrant transportation, drug interdiction, and law enforcement,” she said in the letter.

“I am requesting the federal government reimburse the state for these expenses,” the governor said.

 Dozens of illegal aliens await instructions near the Lukeville Port of Entry in Lukeville, Ariz., on Dec. 7, 2023. (Allan Stein/The Epoch Times)
Dozens of illegal aliens await instructions near the Lukeville Port of Entry in Lukeville, Ariz., on Dec. 7, 2023. (Allan Stein/The Epoch Times)

Border security has often been a partisan issue, with Republicans seeking more restrictive and aggressive measures while Democrats have placed more emphasis on the humanitarian needs of impoverished migrants and asylum-seekers coming from around the world.

President Biden has also felt pressure from some Democrats, including the big city mayors of Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York, who have asked his administration for more funding and action to reduce their immigration burden.

CBP reported 232,972 migrant encounters for August—up nearly 27 percent from July’s total, including unaccompanied children.

Approximately 50,000 encounters in August were in the active Tucson sector, which includes most of the 372-mile-long southern Arizona border. The agency conducted 3,212 rescues, bringing the year’s total to 29,365.

Allan Stein and Reuters contributed to this report.


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