Arizona sheriffs criticize feds, vow to secure border ahead of Title 42 expiration

All sheriffs agreed that the border must be secured and said they are dedicated to protecting the citizens of Arizona.
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 6:19 PM MST|Updated: May. 10, 2023 at 10:12 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss how the end of Title 42 will impact public safety in Arizona. The conference included Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone, Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes, and Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, who all shared powerful messages about the end of Title 42 and what they believe needs to be done at the border to protect the safety of Arizonans and Americans.

Title 42 will end on Thursday at 9 p.m., and the Biden administration expects a surge of migrants crossing the border, including in the Tucson sector. This COVID-era policy allowed border patrol to decline undocumented immigrants, with around 25 million migrants turned away at the border.

All sheriffs agreed that the border must be secured and said they are dedicated to protecting the citizens of Arizona. “This experiment, whatever it was, has failed us,” said Rhodes on Title 42.

Penzone agreed, saying that the government failed its people, making the federal responsibility of protecting and managing the border a local problem. “The failure to properly address issues of unlawful immigration on our border bleeds into communities throughout the state, throughout the nation and adversely affects our ability to provide public safety for our community,” said Penzone.

The sheriffs say they are addressing the issue at the border by partnering with federal agencies, border sheriffs, and other law enforcement. “We understand your concern and fears and we are working very hard to keep you safe. We got this. We’re not going to let this get into a full blown situation in your communities,” said Rhodes.

These partnerships will also help prevent human and drug trafficking from entering the U.S., as Lamb stated that 50% of all illegal drugs coming into America are coming from the borders of Arizona. “Our expectation is your going to follow the laws of this state, your going to follow the laws of America and if you don’t you will be prosecuted,” said Rhodes.

“If the federal government doesn’t want to enforce their law, our message to the people of Arizona is that the Arizona sheriff’s will enforce the law, and if you break a state law we will hold you accountable,” said Lamb.