U.S. border emergency spurs GOP governors’ plan on immigration

(Video by Molly Hudson/Cronkite News)

Arizona’s Doug Ducey joined nine other Republican governors in Mission, Texas, on Wednesday to propose a 10-step plan to remedy the immigration emergency along the southern border.

The proposal came as a response to White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s remarks late last month about a lack of Republican solutions, and the Biden administration’s nonresponse to a letter of concern signed by 26 Republican governors 16 days ago.

“Thousands of migrants gather in a ‘Bidenville’ on the Del Rio bridge,” Ducey said, referring to the thousands of Haitian migrants and asylum seekers who had camped out beneath an international bridge in south Texas before being routed by Border Patrol agents.

“Children are abandoned on the treacherous journey to our country. It’s a tragedy, and I can tell you the border situation is just as out of control in the state of Arizona.”

The Yuma border sector has been the center of much of the crisis, with a 1,000% increase in apprehensions compared to last year, according to Ducey.

Among the list of changes is the reestablishment of former President Donald Trump’s “remain in Mexico” programs, which President Joe Biden suspended shortly after he took office in January. The governors also called for continued construction of the border wall and to more strongly enforce health restrictions for would-be migrants lacking documentation.

Despite this call, however, the Biden administration recently ordered that migrants seeking permanent residence must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and a host of other diseases before they come to the U.S.

According to Pew Research, the United States reached a 20-year high in migrant encounters at the southern border this July. These numbers have stayed relatively level over the summer, with more than 200,000 encounters in August, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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The governors of Arizona, Texas, Iowa and Nebraska stated they had begun to see greater issues in their states stemming from the several months of higher migration. Among the most dangerous issues, the governors concluded, are rises in fentanyl smuggling, theft, murder and human trafficking.

“It’s not just the people that are crossing the border, it’s the lethal drugs,” Ducey said. “Almost 2,000 pounds of fentanyl and over 13,000 pounds of methamphetamine have been seized in Arizona’s sectors alone this year. Just think about how many drugs are slipping through the cracks and slipping into the blood streams in our communities.”

Ducey was one of the 26 governors who signed a letter in late September requesting a meeting with Biden within 15 days to discuss potential solutions. The administration has not responded.

Wednesday’s announcement involved governors from Arizona and Texas, which are on the border, as well as governors of Oklahoma, Iowa, Ohio, Georgia, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska and Montana.

“The governors insist that the Biden administration reinstate the effective plans that were put in place by President Trump,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said. “The governors are also adamant that, while President Biden may be silent about this, and may not be taking any action whatsoever, we are going to act in his absence.”

“Our constituents demand it,” he continued.

News Digital Producer, Phoenix

Brock Blasdell expects to graduate in December 2022 with a degree in journalism. Blasdell, who has worked for the Mesa Legend, AZ Big Media, Tempe Wrangler News and the East Valley Tribune, is working as a digital producer for Cronkite News.

Molly Hudson Mohl-lee Hud-son
News Reporter, Phoenix

Molly Hudson expects to graduate in May 2022 with a master’s degree in mass communication. Hudson, who has interned with NBC’s Dateline, The Arizona Republic and KTAR radio, is working in the Phoenix News Bureau.

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