In his 2022 State of the State Address, Governor Ducey announced a multifaceted, coordinated effort to stem the flow of illegal drugs and curb human trafficking.
“… if the entire southern border isn’t secure, neither is our nation,” he said.
The Governor outlined a series of bold steps to build on Arizona’s strong record of taking action to protect border communities and national security:
- Create the American Governor’s Border Strike Force – a partnership between states to secure the southern border by sharing intelligence, strengthening cybersecurity efforts and improving efforts to protect children and families;
- Construct additional infrastructure and physical barriers at the border;
- Reinforce the rule of law and broaden penalties for human smuggling;
- Strengthen resources and make additional investments in the Arizona Border Strike Force; and
- Increase federal resources to the local communities that have been devastated by the Biden administration’s dangerous open-border policies.
American Governors’ Border Strike Force
The American Governors’ Border Strike Force creates a partnership between states to share intelligence and resources, strengthen analytical and cybersecurity efforts and improve protection of children and families.
“In November, I dispatched Arizona’s top-ranking enforcement officers to partner with their peers in Texas: Major General Kerry Muehlenbeck. Department of Public Safety Colonel Heston Silbert. And Department of Homeland Security Director Tim Roemer. In December, we finalized the plan: Texas Governor Greg Abbott and I are teaming up to form the American Governor’s Border Strike Force – a commitment between states to do what the Biden administration is unwilling to do: Patrol and secure our border,” the Governor said during his State of the State Address.
In fiscal year 2021, 2,633 pounds of fentanyl and 19,572 pounds of methamphetamine were seized at Arizona’s southern border. Dangerous transnational criminal organizations continue to profit from the border crisis, while continuing to flood our communities with drugs. The American Governors’ Border Strike Force aims to combat this criminal activity and stop the flow of drugs and other criminal activity to the entire nation. It will provide significant opportunities to improve collaboration across state lines by:
- Improving intelligence sharing and analysis of state level crimes that may be connected to border security;
- Monitoring cybersecurity issues that increase vulnerability along the southern border;
- Targeting cartel finances that fund criminal activity in the border regions; and
- Coordinating and improving interdiction of drugs and human smuggling that occur in the border region and throughout our nation.
In December, Governor Ducey saw firsthand as people walked across a wide-open and unprotected border. Now, Arizona is committing to securing the border with a physical barrier where possible, further protecting Arizona’s communities.
“Our border is a patchwork of federal, state, tribal and private lands,” the Governor said. “Where Arizona can add physical barriers to the border – we will.”
Rule of Law
As the man-made public safety crisis at the border continues to escalate, so does the humanitarian crisis. Vulnerable children and families not only face illness and death on their dangerous journey to the border, but human traffickers that prey on the desperation of people looking for a better life. Governor Ducey expressed it was time to:
- Enhance and increase criminal penalties against human smuggling;
- Remove barriers for prosecution; and
- Provide additional funding to ensure prosecution and incarceration.
“The human traffickers that prey on the desperation of people looking for a better life, need to pay the consequences,” the Governor said. “It’s time for us to increase the criminal penalties against human smuggling, and provide more funding to border counties to ensure prosecution and incarceration.”
Strengthen the Arizona Border Strike Force
The fiscal year 2022 executive budget will make significant investments to strengthen the Arizona Border Strike Force. The budget will equip the Border Strike Force with:
- Advanced equipment to aid in the pursuit of dangerous criminals;
- Next-generation drone technology to bolster surveillance; and
- Funding to investigate transnational criminal organizations operating in Arizona.