Arizona sheriff says border security is human rights issue

Mar 17, 2021, 12:39 PM | Updated: 12:42 pm

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb...

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb (Facebook Photo/Sheriff Lamb)

(Facebook Photo/Sheriff Lamb)

PHOENIX — An Arizona sheriff said Wednesday that the issue of border security goes beyond immigration policy and should be of concern to all segments of the political spectrum.

“If you care about human rights, it shouldn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, independent,” Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, a Republican, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show.

“You should absolutely care about border security because the cartel is abusing these people’s rights.”

Lamb said the cartels have been sexually abusing women and “using children as pawns” by sending them into the U.S. as unaccompanied minors.

They also have been forcing migrants to help transport drugs, Lamb said.

“They’re bringing dangerous drugs like methamphetamine and even more dangerous fentanyl into our communities,” he said. “We can’t ignore that.”

Lamb said the cartels have sophisticated operations in Arizona, including surveillance of law enforcement along the Interstate 8 and 10 corridors.

“They watch every move we make,” he said. “They are up in the mountains; they have scouts there.”

Pinal County isn’t on the southern U.S. border, but the Tohono O’odham Nation ranges from Mexico to central Arizona. Lamb said cartels have been passing through the reservation into Pinal County from the south.

He said situation has grown worse since President Joe Biden took office.

“We dealt with it under President [Donald] Trump as well, but President Trump was working hard to try to combat it. … He was trying to fix the problem, but all that has been undone immediately, and the numbers are proof of that,” Lamb said.

Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday said the number of migrants attempting to cross the border was on pace to hit a 20-year peak, but he refused to call it a “crisis.”

The situation is also a challenge to Biden’s effort to overhaul broader Trump policies intended to curtail both legal and illegal immigration.

“I can say quite clearly: Don’t come over,” Biden said in an ABC News interview that aired Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona sheriff says border security is human rights issue