Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, community leaders demand federal action for border security

Sep 15, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: 5:31 pm

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs...

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, along with border community leaders, have partnered to call on the federal government to take immediate action to deliver resources to state border communities.

This comes as border crossings increase and Congress threatens a federal government shutdown.

“My administration has worked tirelessly to support border communities, stem the flow of drugs and human trafficking and keep our neighborhoods safe,” Hobbs said in a press release Thursday.

“But as it stands today, Arizona is being overwhelmed. I’m calling on Congress and the Biden administration to come together immediately to deliver much needed border security to the State of Arizona. Federal officials need to put politics aside and pass real solutions that will give our state the resources it needs to manage the increase in migrants at the border.”

Leaders call out Biden administration

The Biden administration has been under criticism from state leaders including Arizona U.S. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, an Independent, and Mark Kelly, a Democrat, about how funding for the border support was allocated.

New York City was awarded over $100 million in funding while Arizona received over $45 million.

“Gov. Hobbs and I share a commitment to keeping our communities safe and managing the increase in crossing the best we can, but we need help from the federal government. Congress and the Biden administration have to take action now to deliver resources to communities like mine to ensure our border is secure,” Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels said in a press release.

Dannels said he and other sheriffs are at the frontlines of the issue daily.

Calling out homeland security

Rep. Ruben Gallego said he pushed Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on a one-on-one call Friday.

“I stressed that DHS needs to surge resources and funding to border communities. They also need to improve communication and coordination with local leaders,” Gallego said in a press release.

Gallego also sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) earlier this week, urging leaders to fix a documentation requirement that strained border communities. It was the third letter he sent to the organization, the previous two concerning funding.

“This is a national crisis which requires a national response,” he said. “Border communities and nonprofits cannot do the job alone.”

Arizona’s contribution to border security

In 2023, Arizona has seized over 12,000 pounds of drugs and 520 weapons. The state spent over $35 million on border security, drug interdiction, anti-human trafficking and local community support. The Department of Emergency and Military Affairs spent over $10 million to transport over 10,000 migrants to decompress border communities.

The Arizona Department of Homeland Security awarded $16,385,000 in grants to local and tribal law enforcement agencies.

DEMA committed to spend $3 million in additional funding to support Pima County Drexel facility managing migrant services.

“I appreciate the partnership and support that Gov. Hobbs has delivered to help Pima County manage the flow of asylum seekers that Customs and Border Protection is delivering to us,” Pima County Board of Supervisors Chair Adelita Grijalva said in a press release.

“But our resources are at capacity, so Pima County needs immediate action from the federal government to provide us with the means required for the critical service we are providing. We have kept asylum seekers and our community healthy and safe for more than four years and now we need more resources to continue our work on this federal issue.”

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Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, community leaders demand federal action for border security