By Corinne Murdock |
On Tuesday, half of America’s governors launched a strike force to control the ongoing border crisis. The American Governor’s Strike Force was modeled after Governor Doug Ducey’s Arizona Border Strike Force, established in 2015.
“If our entire southern border isn’t secure, our nation isn’t secure,” said Ducey. “As dangerous transnational criminal organizations continue to profit from holes in the border and fill our communities with drugs, it’s no coincidence that we’re seeing historic levels of opioid-related deaths.”
The American Governor’s Strike Force aims to improve intelligence on state crimes traceable to the border, cybersecurity, as well as tracking of drug trafficking and human smuggling.
The coalition of 26 governors launched the strike force in an effort to precede the Biden administration’s plan to lift Title 42 at the end of May. The policy allows expedited deportation of illegal immigrants from the country. Title 42 came into play in early 2020 under former President Donald Trump through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as an effort to control the COVID-19 spread.
As of the latest Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, there have been nearly 2.6 million encounters/apprehensions on the southern border since President Joe Biden took office. That doesn’t include “getaways,” estimated to be tens to hundreds of thousands of times more.
By comparison, there were over 2.4 million encounters/apprehensions under Trump’s entire tenure.
2021 under Biden didn’t only reflect record highs in illegal immigrant apprehensions and encounters. Last year, transnational criminal organizations brought in around $3 billion from human smuggling. Additionally, fentanyl overdoses accounted for a record high of more than 77 percent of adolescent deaths in Arizona, as well as resulting in the leading cause of death for individuals aged 19 and younger.
Ducey and Texas Governor Greg Abbott teamed up last December to form the governors’ coalition. The pair recruited 24 other governors: those representing Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
In January, Ducey promised the strike force in his State of the State Address. Ducey characterized the strike force as a solution to the Biden administration’s lack of progress on controlling the border crisis.
“Texas Governor Greg Abbott and I are teaming up to form the American Governors’ Border Strike Force: a commitment between states to do what the Biden administration is unwilling to do: patrol and secure our border,” said Ducey.
Ducey and Abbott’s initiative came after months of negotiations and proposals with the Biden administration to mitigate the crisis. Ducey cataloged those efforts in his latest press release announcing the strike force.