Gov. Ducey discusses immigration with federal officials, will visit border
PHOENIX – Gov. Doug Ducey met with federal officials to discuss immigration issues Wednesday and will visit the southern Arizona on Friday to survey the situation at the border and meet with local leaders.
“We have a crisis,” Ducey said at the beginning of Wednesday’s hourlong meeting with federal and state leaders, according to a press release from his office. “We need to call it what it is and address it as such.”
The meeting included officials from the Border Patrol, Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as leaders from the state Department of Public Safety, National Guard and Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.
The crisis at the border needs to be addressed to protect Arizonans, migrants and our entire nation. I spoke to @DHSgov, @CBP and @FEMARegion9 about security, #COVID19 testing at the border, and Arizona’s strong relationship with Mexico. 1/ pic.twitter.com/FwgR0sjI7u
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) March 17, 2021
Ducey voiced concerns about several border-related developments, including how the recent increase in illegal immigration is affecting local law enforcement agencies and communities.
“We have a high sense of urgency on this,” Ducey said. “My big concern is this will get dramatically worse before it gets better.”
Ducey will travel to Douglas on Friday, where he will go on an aerial border tour and take part in a border security roundtable.
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, will be among those joining Ducey.
Several state lawmakers, including Arizona Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers, will also participate, along with Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels, Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Col. Heston Silbert and others.
Ducey and other Republicans contend that the rising number of people attempting to cross the Southwest border have been inspired by President Joe Biden’s early moves on immigration policy.
“A lot of people are being put in a terrible position because there’s an incentive to come over the border,” Ducey told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show last week.
During a congressional hearing Wednesday, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas refused to concede that the situation was a crisis or even much different from what the Trump and Obama administrations faced.
He gave ground on two GOP points as he acknowledged the Biden administration may not have adequately notified communities chosen to host facilities for migrant teens and children and said some people were released without being tested for COVID-19, though a new testing policy has been implemented.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.