By Terri Jo Neff |
Gov. Doug Ducey and nine other governors met Wednesday in Texas to announce a plan they say could be immediately implemented by the Biden Administration to address the crisis at the nation’s southwest border. The meeting came after more than two weeks of silence from President Joe Biden to a Sept. 20 request for a summit with 26 governors, including Ducey.
“We’ve tried to meet with the president and be part of the solution, but he refuses. No, worse — he ignores governors, just like he’s ignoring the border and the safety of the American people,” Ducey said, adding that the governors have publicly provided a comprehensive set of policy to end the border crisis immediately. “President Biden now has everything he needs to stop this crisis.”
The 10-point plan shared by the governors calls for the continued application of Title 42 to refuse entry to individuals coming into the U.S. due to COVID-19 public health risks (Point 1) as well as the dedication of additional resources to eradicate the surge in human and drug smuggling (Point 2).
Point 3 calls on Biden to enforce all deportation laws applicable to criminally-convicted illegal aliens, while Point 4 seeks the United States’ reentry with agreements previously in place with Mexico as well as with El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras -commonly referred to as the Northern Triangle.
The fifth point would ensure states are notified by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement anytime the federal government transports migrants, including unaccompanied children, into a state that will be called upon to provide social services.
And the sixth point demands the President and all federal officials to “state clearly and unequivocally that our country’s borders are not open” and that migrants seeking economic opportunity in America should not abuse or misuse the asylum process.
Point 7 calls for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be provided with more resources for federal officers and agents. Meanwhile, Point 8 involves making additional judges and resources available to U.S. Immigration Courts to end the growing backlog and expedite court appearances for illegal migrants. There would also be an end to the Biden Administration’s current “catch and release policy” which makes it impossible to track immigrants who are otherwise free to travel anywhere in the country.
Under Point 9, the Migrant Protection Policy (MPP) would be reinstated in compliance with recent court rulings. MPP requires asylum seekers to return to Mexico to await court hearings. And Point 10, according to the governors’ plan, would reactivate construction contracts to finish building the border wall as well as additional security infrastructure such as lights, sensors, and access roads.
Those participating in the meeting with Ducey and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott were Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, Gov. Brad Little of Idaho, Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Gov. Greg Gianforte of Montana, Gov. Pete Ricketts of Montana, Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, and Gov. Mark Gordon of Wyoming. The attendees received a border briefing from Commissioner Steve McCraw of the Texas Department of Public Safety as well as Brandon Judd of the National Border Patrol Council.
Last month, Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels took issue with comments by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) who claimed the southwest border is “sovereign and secure” and that anyone who says otherwise is spouting “biased and unfair narratives for political purposes.”
Dannels, whose county shares 80 miles of border with Mexico, said Jackson Lee’s comments were “100 percent not true.” To support his position, the sheriff pointed to data compiled by the federal government which showed 183,000 border crossers taken into custody from Oct. 1, 2020 through Aug. 31, 2021 by the Tucson Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol.
During that same period, an estimated 115,000 “getaways” were reported in the Tucson Sector, Dannels said.
Those were just some of the 1,473,000 encounters with undocumented immigrants at the nation’s southwest border, a 325 percent increase from the same period last year.
MORE ABOUT SHERIFF DANNELS’ COMMENTS