By Andrew Gould
Our Country is based on the rule of law. From the rights and liberties protected by our Constitution to the statutes enacted by federal and state governments, we are a nation of laws. Unfortunately, the Biden administration has abandoned this principle. The most shocking example is the administration’s refusal to enforce federal immigration laws on our southern border. This dangerous “Open Border Policy” has placed the health and safety of Arizonans in grave danger. The Biden administration has reduced our southern border to a zone of lawlessness run by criminals making billions of dollars from illegal immigration — $7,000 to $8,000 per illegal immigrant. Further, these lawless crooks profit off the sale of lethal drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamine, all the while raping women, molesting children, and assaulting and murdering thousands of victims.
We have petitioned, complained — and, at times, begged — for the federal government to help, but to no avail. The sad reality is that there is no help on the way. We are on our own.
But all is not lost. Embedded in our Constitution is the principle of federalism. Specifically, under the Tenth Amendment, powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the States (and the People). Federalism provides states with the power and authority to protect the safety and welfare of their citizens through new and innovative solutions without relying on the federal government.
Thus, we do not have to rely on the federal government to secure our border with Mexico. Rather, we can use state law and resources to address it on our own. We can begin securing our border by enforcing state laws that protect our citizens and their property. This can be accomplished by creating a state enforced No Trespassing Zone along the border.
The No Trespassing Zone is a simple concept. First, persons entering the country illegally must, at some point, enter private or state land. If given reasonable notice that such entry constitutes trespassing (through the posting of “No Trespassing” signs), they can, and will, be arrested for trespassing. In addition to trespass, those entering the No Trespassing Zone may be arrested and prosecuted for the criminal damage they cause to state and private property. Additionally, the trespassers and the cartels will be prosecuted for any illegal drugs and weapons they carry into the Zone.
Second, entry into the No Trespassing Zone is detected by placing a “virtual wall” along the Zone. This technology, which employs hidden cameras placed in strategic locations, provides crystal-clear, real-time images of persons entering a surveilled area. This “virtual wall” technology is already in place on the border in Cochise County and has been funded by the Arizona legislature to extend to Yuma County.
Third, the policy requires the local county attorney’s offices and the Attorney General’s office to commit to a “zero-tolerance policy” regarding violations occurring in the No Trespassing Zone. Simply put, a “zero-tolerance policy” means that these agencies will dedicate staff and resources to prosecuting crimes committed in the Zone when there is sufficient evidence to do so.
Posting no trespassing signs would, of course, require the consent of private landowners. Additionally, much of the border includes locations, such as federal and reservation land, where state law enforcement and prosecutors have no jurisdiction. Thus, in some areas, the No Trespassing Zone will have to extend inside the state to the nearest adjacent private or state property where entry is made.
It is time for Arizona to act. As Arizona’s Attorney General, I will aggressively use the power of the Office to develop creative legal strategies to solve the problems we face together. The “No Trespassing Zone” initiative will put the law on our side to ensure border security.
Andrew W. Gould was appointed as a Justice to the Arizona Supreme Court in 2017 after serving 5 years on Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals. He retired from the Supreme Court in March 2021. Prior to his appointment to the Court of Appeals, Justice Gould spent 11 years as a Judge of the Superior Court in Yuma County, where he served as both Associate Presiding Judge and Presiding Judge.
Andrew received his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law in 1990. He began his legal career in Phoenix, Arizona, practicing in the field of civil litigation. In 1994, he became a Deputy County Attorney, prosecuting major criminal cases for Yuma and Maricopa Counties. He served as Chief Civil Deputy for the Yuma County Attorney’s Office from 1999-2001. Justice Gould has previously served on the Arizona Supreme Court Commission on Technology, as the President of the Arizona Judges’ Association, and has taught at the Judicial Conference and New Judge Orientations.