Arizona Gov. Hobbs wants to get rid of Border Strike Force, reroute funding

Feb 28, 2023, 6:02 PM

(Twitter Photo/@GovernorHobbs)...

(Twitter Photo/@GovernorHobbs)

(Twitter Photo/@GovernorHobbs)

PHOENIX — In one of her first actions at the border since taking office, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs said Tuesday she wants to eliminate the Border Strike Force — but not the funding for it.

“Right now, the Border Strike Force is not being actually being utilized at the border, so we want to coordinate those resources where they can be most helpful with the law enforcement there,” Hobbs said during a press conference.

The Arizona Border Strike Force is a created in September 2015 among multiple state law enforcement agencies in the state that is led by the Department of Public Safety.

The initiative seeks to combat border crimes and “provides a comprehensive collaborative approach to help secure Arizona’s border and thwart transnational criminal organizations.”

Following the governor’s visit to the Yuma border and ports of entry on Monday, Mayor Doug Nicholls told KTAR News 92.3 FM that reducing the task force or eliminating it from her budget would be concerning.

“I’m not sure if she said she was reducing it or eliminating that from her budget. That would be a concern if that is indeed happening,” Nicholls said.

But after yesterday’s visit, Hobbs noted the importance of listening to local leaders prior to taking border action.

“It’s really important to listen to the folks working in the field that are experts on these and take our direction from them … We want to take real action and implement solutions that are going to be helpful,” Hobbs said during a press conference.

“They want us to keep listening … the Border Patrol folks asked us to advocate for continued infrastructure and to keep talking to them so that we’re not making decision without knowing how it directly impacts the folks working in the field.”

After Congressman Rep. Juan Ciscomani of Tucson on Tuesday sent a letter asking for answers about the removal of security technology at the border, Hobbs said that issue wasn’t discussed during her visit to Yuma the previous day.

“What, specifically, they said is that it would be helpful for us to advocate for infrastructure and personnel but not specifics types of infrastructure or technology, so I’m not familiar with that specific [directive],” she said.

Hobbs also reassured that U.S. Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas will visit the border after she initially said in mid-January details were being worked out for him to see it firsthand.

“He is, it’s just been hard to get on the schedule. Arizona’s not the only state he’s dealing with and he’s committed to doing that, we are just in back and forth discussions. In fact, I think we had a call with his chief of staff yesterday in the car,” Hobbs said.

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Arizona Gov. Hobbs wants to get rid of Border Strike Force, reroute funding