PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Gov. Doug Ducey announced a Declaration of Emergency and deployment of Arizona National Guard troops to the Arizona/Mexico border Tuesday afternoon.
Ducey tweeted the announcement in a video just before 1:30 p.m. saying that if the federal government won't act, Arizona will.
"The federal government won’t act — but Arizona will. To address the crisis at the border, I’ve issued a Declaration of Emergency and am deploying the brave men and women of our @AZNationalGuard to support law enforcement efforts and protect Arizonans," the tweet said.
NEW: The federal government won’t act — but Arizona will. To address the crisis at the border, I’ve issued a Declaration of Emergency and am deploying the brave men and women of our @AZNationalGuard to support law enforcement efforts and protect Arizonans. pic.twitter.com/EdFkiM2C5t— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) April 20, 2021
The troops will assist law enforcement efforts at the border. A press release from Ducey's office said the state will provide up to $25 million in initial funding for the mission.
"The U.S. Border Patrol is overwhelmed," Ducey said. "Local law enforcement and mayors are calling out for help."
Ducey said that the new surge of migrants trying to come across the border is a direct result of Biden's immigration policies. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered 171,700 migrants in March, including a record number of unaccompanied minors, according to preliminary data obtained by CNN. CBP encountered 18,800 unaccompanied children at the border, according to the preliminary data, nearly doubling the number apprehensions of children in February and setting a record high.
Just last month, busloads of immigrants were dropped off by CBP in Gila Bend, a small border town that does not have a hospital or any shelters. The mayor of the town of about 2,000 people declared a state of emergency as people were being dropped off with nowhere to go.
Both of Arizona's U.S. Senators, Kyrsten Sinema (D) and Mark Kelly (D), said that the federal government is failing Arizona amid the border crisis. Sen. Kelly wants a solution to the border and migrant issue that's now affecting Arizona towns.
While they're trying to help, they said this ultimately should be up to the feds to fix, not the states.
"The federal government has failed Arizona on this. Washington needs to do a better job," Kelly said. "This shouldn't be on them. This is the federal government's responsibility, not the responsibility of communities across our state."
Sinema released the following statement after Governor Ducey declared an emergency at the border:
I welcome the Governor's action to provide logistical support to Arizona communities, and look forward to hearing more details about how the National Guard will assist. I will continue working closely with Arizona leaders and organizations to support our border communities, secure the border, prevent the spread of COVID-19, and treat all migrants and unaccompanied children fairly and humanely.
Senator Kelly also responded to the news of the border emergency declaration and deployment of national guard troops early Tuesday evening.
“There is a crisis on the border and I have pushed the administration for the additional resources, staffing, transportation, and the testing necessary to provide a secure, orderly process that does not fall on Arizona communities. In visiting the Yuma Sector and speaking with Border Patrol and other local leaders, it’s clear that their resources and staffing are strained," Kelly said. "There are important missions that the Arizona National Guard can perform at the border and the governor calling them up will provide assistance to both local law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security. I will continue working with the Governor, Border Patrol, and local leaders to secure the resources necessary for a response that prioritizes safety and public health.”
The press release from Ducey said up to 250 Guardsmen will go to border communities and will be available to support other law enforcement agencies, like state troopers. The Arizona National Guard will:
- Assist with medical operations in detention centers
- Install and maintaining border cameras
- Monitor and collect data from public safety cameras
- Analyze satellite imagery for current trends in smuggling corridors
Ducey said he will visit Yuma County tomorrow, April 21, to get more details from community leaders and law enforcement officials about what they’re seeing on the ground. Gov. Ducey plans to deliver a statement from the border at 12:30 p.m.