Brewer: most illegal immigrants smuggling drugs

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PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says most illegal immigrants entering Arizona are being used to transport drugs across the border.

Brewer says the motivation of "a lot" of the illegal immigrants is to enter the United States to look for work. But she says the majority "are under the direction of organized drug cartels and they are bringing drugs in."

Brewer spoke Friday when asked about comments she made in a recent election debate among Republican candidates for governor.

She said during the June 15 debate that she believed that most illegal immigrants were not entering the United States for work. She then associated illegal immigrants with drug smuggling, drop houses, extortion and other criminal activity.

Brewer issued the following statement late Friday afternoon:

“There has been some media attention in the last several hours regarding statements I made this morning regarding the level of drug and crime activity being perpetrated by illegal immigrants coming into and residing in Arizona. The simple truth is that the majority of human smuggling in our state is under the direction of the drug cartels, which are by definition smuggling drugs. 
 
“It is common knowledge that Mexican drug cartels have merged human smuggling with drug trafficking.  For example, the Los Angeles Times on March 23, 2009 reported, ‘The business of smuggling humans across the Mexican border has been brisk, with many thousands coming across every year.  But smugglers affiliated with the drug cartels have taken the enterprise to a new level – and made it more violent – by commandeering much of the operation from independent coyotes, according to these officials and recent congressional testimonies.’  This article and many federal government reports have drawn the same conclusions.
 
“The human rights violations that have taken place victimizing immigrants and their families are abhorrent. Border crossers are used by drug cartels as commodities. Mexican drug cartels have merged human smugglers who use their expertise in gathering intelligence on border patrols, logistics and communication devices to get around even tighter controls. U.S. border officials have stated that traffickers are gaining control of much of the illegal passage of immigrants from Mexico to the United States.”