Cochise County sheriff unsatisfied with lack of progress at southern Arizona border

Oct 23, 2023, 10:28 AM

border crossings highest ever been in September for Arizona...

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — As border crossings continue trending upward in Arizona, one county sheriff says he doesn’t feel like enough is being done from Washington to stop the influx.

The complaint from Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels comes as migrant arrests in the Tucson sector were at its highest in September. In the same month, more than 3,200 people in Cochise County of the 51,000 migrants that were arrested were unaccompanied minors.

Dannels told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Monday he isn’t surprised about the latest border numbers.

Instead of waiting on Washington to make progress at the border, he said local authorities — including the governor’s office, law enforcement and the county attorney — will begin taking matters into their own hands.

“We’re going after this. We’re going to enhance saturations for awareness, for enforcement, and to protect those that are being placed in harms way,” Dannels said. “Enough is enough.”

The enhanced operation will begin Tuesday.

The announcement comes after Sen. Mark Kelly’s Oct. 12 visit to the southern border, where he was briefed on the current situation and toured a port of entry.

Dannels said the meeting with the senator didn’t go as initially expected.

“I did see his press release. I do agree with the words. He has been against the White House, but the bottom line is, there was some frustration in that meeting,” Dannels said. “There was some serious frustration in that meeting.”

During Kelly’s visit, he said he would keep pushing for the staffing and resources needed to create a humane and orderly process at the border. The senator also shared how he is trying to get his legislation to increase Border Patrol pay.

The sheriff suggested making fixes to communities along the southwest border instead of ones that are inland.

“Every day that goes by is another tragedy that we’re addressing somewhere on the southwest border, including my own county,” Dannels said.

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Cochise County sheriff unsatisfied with lack of progress at southern Arizona border