Yesterday, Governor Ducey discussed the escalating crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border with federal officials, state law enforcement and emergency management leaders.
“We have a crisis,” Governor Ducey said at the beginning of the meeting. “We need to call it what it is, and address it as such.”
The hour-long discussion comes as the governor plans to visit the border on Friday to see the impacts firsthand and hear from local leaders on the front lines of the worsening situation.
During the meeting, Governor Ducey raised concern over the dramatic increase in illegal immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border in recent weeks, as well as the strain it’s putting on law enforcement and Arizona’s border communities. The governor expressed grave concern about the large numbers of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border and the involvement of criminal organizations in human trafficking at the border. The governor also shared his concern about the spread of COVID-19 among those apprehended.
“We have a high sense of urgency on this,” Ducey said. “My big concern is this will get dramatically worse before it gets better.”
Participating in the meeting were Governor Doug Ducey; Chris Clem, Chief, U.S. Border Patrol – Yuma Sector; Sabri Dikma, Deputy Chief, U.S. Border Patrol – Tucson Sector; Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, Chief Medical Officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Tammy Littrell, Region 9 Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency; Colonel Heston Silbert, Director, Arizona Department of Public Safety; Major General Michael McGuire, Director, Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs and Adjutant General, Arizona National Guard; and Allen Clark, Director, Division of Emergency Management, Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.
Governor Ducey continues to call on the Biden administration to reverse their misguided policy changes that have brought on this crisis, and asked for immediate action and funding to address deteriorating security, health and humanitarian conditions at the border.
During the meeting, Border Patrol shared concerning increases in apprehensions and illegal immigration across the board. The governor thanked these law enforcement leaders for their dedication and hard work in protecting Arizona and America.
Federal Border Patrol officials emphasized that their role is to interdict, apprehend and process illegal immigrants, not to care for and house individuals in custody. With Border Patrol’s limited boots on the ground, any agents focused on caring for individuals in custody results in less focus on their core mission of border security. U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials indicated they are working with local public health officials about appropriate COVID-19 health protocols and policies.