By Corinne Murdock |
Gov. Katie Hobbs has reversed course on her decision to send the National Guard to the border.
On Friday, Hobbs announced the plans to deploy the National Guard through Operation Safety, Enforcement, Coordination, & Uniform Response (SECURE): a new mobilization effort of additional state resources to mitigate the burgeoning border crisis. Operation SECURE will house a new Department of Homeland Security division, the Border Security Office, using $2 million from the state’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal funding.
Should the Biden administration continue the closure of the Lukeville Port of Entry, the governor directed the state to spend up to $5 million to mobilize the National Guard. In the corresponding press release, Hobbs criticized the Biden administration’s closure of the port of entry as the direct cause of “an unmitigated crisis” that endangered the state’s communities and commerce.
Hobbs warned that the Biden administration has placed Arizona at a “breaking point.”
“Our ports of entry are vital for security and trade, and insufficient resources hinder our ability to properly manage the influx of migrants who have continued to come to Lukeville,” said Hobbs. “We need the federal government to step up, do its job, and bring security and order to our border.”
Hobbs also submitted a letter to President Joe Biden on Friday requesting the reassignment of just over 200 Tucson Sector National Guard members to the Lukeville Port of Entry as well as the assignment of National Guard members elsewhere in the nation to reopen the port of entry.
“For far too long, Arizona has continued to bear the burden of federal inaction in managing our southern border,” said Hobbs.
Hobbs also requested the reimbursement of the over $512.5 million the state has spent under Biden on migrant transportation, drug interdiction, and law enforcement. In her press release announcing Operation SECURE, Hobbs promised to seek reimbursements of border crisis mitigation on a regular basis.
“The federal government must act immediately to solve the unmitigated crisis caused by the Lukeville Port of Entry closure,” said Hobbs.
The governor also disclosed to reporters earlier this week that she would visit the area on Saturday to assess the situation. Hobbs is scheduled to travel with Arizona National Guard Adjutant General Kerry Muehlenbeck.
Hobbs’ decision to deploy the National Guard marks a turnaround from her perspective on Monday, when she felt that the troops weren’t warranted since the border communities hadn’t asked for them.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the closure of the Lukeville Port of Entry last Friday. CBP attributed the closure to the need for more personnel due to the ever-worsening state of the border crisis.
“In response to increased levels of migrant encounters at the Southwest Border, fueled by smugglers peddling disinformation to prey on vulnerable individuals, CBP is surging all available resources to expeditiously and safely process migrants,” said CBP.
Scenes from the border reveal that around 1,000 illegal immigrants on any given day — mostly single, military-age men — await alongside the border for processing and transportation after illegally crossing into the U.S.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to CBP as Customs and Border Patrol. The story has been corrected and now refers to CBP as Customs and Border Protection.