One year after Gov. Doug Ducey and nine other governors visited the southern border, Arizona and 25 other states in August conducted the first multistate law enforcement operation to curb the cross-border traffic of drugs and firearms flowing across the border.
Following the operation, Ducey touted the success of the partnership, saying, “Earlier this year, we teamed up with Texas and 24 other states to share intelligence and strengthen security through the first-of-its-kind American Governors’ Border Strike Force. We’re already seeing results thanks to this coordinated effort.”
Ducey and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who launched the task force six months ago, announced that the August operation seized more than 7,000 pounds of illegal drugs and more than 300 firearms.
In April 2021, Ducey deployed 250 Arizona National Guard troops to the southern border and provided $25 million to fund the mission. In July, Abbott signed an executive order allowing his state’s Department of Public Safety and National Guard to detain undocumented immigrants and return them to the border.
Ducey also oversaw a reported $13 million project to close a nearly 4,000-foot gap in the border wall in Yuma by welding 130 shipping containers together. The mayor of Yuma, Doug Nicholls said that “It’s been estimated 50% of the crossings are coming here through the Yuma sector.” Tim Roemer, the Arizona Department of Homeland Security director, praised the project saying that migrants will now be forced to attempt to enter the U.S. through proper ports of entry.
These actions taken by Ducey and other governors come in response to large increases in illegal border crossings and drug smuggling into the United States. Customs and Border Protection officials have encountered more than 500,000 migrants and seized 4,600 pounds of fentanyl in Arizona over the last year alone.
Illegal border crossings along the southwest border reached a record high of 1.73 million in 2021 with 2022 crossings on pace to surpass that number. Migrants often attempt to cross multiple times, overwhelming Border Patrol agents’ efforts.
Ducey and other governors have repeatedly requested assistance from the Biden administration to resolve the border crisis with little response. Last year, Ducey and nine other governors created a 10-point plan to give to the Biden Administration.