This week Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill directing $335M to build border fence, making it the most meaningful border security legislation in Arizona history.
“Inaction by President Joe Biden has led to the worst border crisis in over 20 years,” said Governor Ducey. In a signing letter, the Governor wrote, “I’ve been outspoken about the impact this crisis has on Arizonans, our communities and migrants. We’ve taken numerous steps to help resolve the chaos, including deploying the Arizona National Guard, signing legislation to address human smuggling and transporting migrants on a voluntary basis to Washington, D.C. Ultimately, however, securing our border is the responsibility of the federal government… With this investment, we are giving our law enforcement professionals another critical resource they need to successfully do their jobs. We are standing up for the rule of law, and we are cementing Arizona’s commitment to securing our state and our entire nation.”
H.B. 2317, sponsored by Rep. John Kavanagh, coupled with targeted investments from the fiscal year 2023 budget, dedicates a record $564 million to help to secure our border with a physical barrier, address critical public safety staffing shortages, and modernize the technology and public safety equipment to target criminal activity and keep our citizens safe.
“The number of migrant encounters has skyrocketed at our border, overwhelming law enforcement and the Border Patrol,” said Rep. Kavanagh. “Thanks to the absent federal government, our border is in chaos and out of control. We need more support and physical barriers. This is a reasonable investment in Arizona’s safety and security. I’m grateful for Governor Ducey’s leadership to take action and secure the border.”
As law enforcement works to address the humanitarian crisis, their efforts to address criminal activity on the border are thwarted. A physical structure and an enhanced virtual system will mitigate the unlawful flow of migrants across the border and ensure that law enforcement can address the criminal activity that originates at our border and flows into our state and throughout our country.
“This investment is critical to saving lives both on the border and within our communities,” said Tim Roemer, Director of the Arizona Department of Homeland Security and the state’s Chief Information Security Officer. “Not only is this a border crisis, it’s a humanitarian crisis – and it’s only getting worse. More and more migrants are making the dangerous journey, fentanyl deaths are spiking and danger continues to escalate. This funding will go toward critical resources and tools to help us combat dangerous transnational organizations and protect victims from their horrific crimes. Governor Ducey has prioritized border security since day one, and today’s action shows real leadership and care for border needs.”
“The escalating southern border crisis and lack of federal action is taking a toll on Cochise County and all Arizona communities,” said John Ladd, Cochise County rancher. “These significant investments from Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature are crucial in supporting ranchers like myself and protecting our great state — and I’m grateful for the Governor’s continued support.”
“Our nation is facing the worst border crisis in years due to the federal government’s inaction, and our communities are paying the price,” said Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb. “Our state leaders and law enforcement have been taking action, doing all they can to protect Arizona. It is crucial we have the necessary resources along the southern border, and I appreciate Governor Ducey’s efforts to make that happen.”
“When the southern border is secure, Cochise County and the entire state are safer,” said Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels. “Lax border policies from the federal government and U.S. Congress are putting Arizonans in danger. We’re taking action in Cochise County to mitigate the issue and protect our community. I appreciate Governor Ducey’s unwavering commitment to securing the border, supporting the men and women in law enforcement, and sending resources where they’re needed most.”
“Governor Ducey has been a consistent supporter of Sheriff Dannels in securing the Cochise County border with Mexico,” said Ann English, Chair of Cochise County Board of Supervisors. “He recognizes it as an Arizona and USA problem and we are grateful for his willingness to provide significant state funding for this vital mission.”
“When our border isn’t secure, it opens up our communities to dangerous paraphernalia, smuggling activity and chaos,” said Jonathan Lines, Yuma County Supervisor. “We need to support and protect our law enforcement professionals, small businesses and fellow Arizonans — and securing our southern border will help do that. Governor Ducey has prioritized border security since the start of his administration, and I thank him for remaining committed to our state’s safety over the last eight years.”
“The steps that Governor Ducey has taken in funding support for public safety to ensure the wellbeing of our border communities are crucial for the public safety of our state and nation during these unprecedented times,” said Amanda Aguirre, President & CEO of Regional Center for Border Health.
“The funding for Border Strike Force initiatives secured for Cochise County will have both direct and indirect benefits on the Douglas border area and will help law enforcement secure a safer border,” said Donald Huish, Mayor of Douglas. “I am grateful to Governor Ducey, Sheriff Dannels, and Chief of Police Fullen for their commitment to this effort which will allow for stronger partnerships with area agencies and ultimately enhanced prosecution for crimes with a border nexus.”
“When the southern border is unsecured, it poses a direct threat to communities all across Arizona,” said Brian McIntyre, Cochise County Attorney. “Transnational criminal organizations target young Arizonans and vulnerable individuals to smuggle and engage in dangerous activity. Thanks to these significant investments, border protection will be stronger and our state and citizens will be safer. Thank you to Governor Ducey for prioritizing border security.”
This record investment in the Border Security Fund will provide law enforcement professionals additional critical resources they need to successfully do their jobs. The investment includes:
- $335 million to construct and maintain a border fence, purchase or install border security technologies, and to pay associated administrative costs
- $53.4 million for deputy sheriff compensation
- $30 million for local prosecution and imprisonment of individuals charged with drug trafficking, human smuggling, illegal immigration, and other border-related crimes
- $30 million for a new State Emergency Operations Center facility
- $20 million for a State match to a new Cochise County Jail facility
- $15 million for a Department of Public Safety southern border coordinated response center
- $15 million for local law enforcement costs for participating in a program with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- $15 million for transportation of individuals seeking asylum
- $10 million to reduce trafficking
- $10 million for the National Guard to support the Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement agencies in the southern Arizona border region
- $10 million for emergency health care and testing for immigrants along the southern Arizona border
- $800,000 for the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs State Guard chain of command
Governor Ducey’s action delivers on his State of the State promise that if Washington, D.C. will not do its part to secure our border, Arizona will.
In his signing letter the governor said, “As I sign this bill today, we are taking an additional action to do the job Washington, D.C. refuses to. More action is needed from the federal government, but with these targeted investments Arizona is putting the safety of our state and nation first.”
The governor also signed the following bills:
S.B. 1490 appropriation; Cesar Chavez Boulevard (Otondo)
S.B. 1564 on-farm irrigation efficiency; fund; appropriation (Shope)
S.B. 1712 victim notification; victims’ rights; appropriation (Gowan)