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AZ Sheriffs Association urges state leaders on need for more border security funding

PHOENIX (KYMA, KECY) - The Arizona Sheriffs' Association sent a letter to Governor Hobbs and state legislative leaders to ask for more border security funding saying "The situation at the border has only worsened."

The letter mentioned the association is requesting more funds to be appropriated this fiscal year.

Here is the full letter below.

Earlier this year, Arizona’s leaders appropriated $12 million taxpayer dollars to help law enforcement handle crime related to illegal border crossers. We are grateful for the assistance and we recognize the finite resources of the state budget.

As the 2024 legislative session approaches, we write to collectively tell you, more funds are needed. Since the 2023-24 budget was approved in May, the situation at the border has only worsened. And correspondingly, so have the consequences in counties throughout Arizona.

The U.S. Border Patrol remains overwhelmed as migrants and cartels take advantage of weaknesses along the 2,000-mile-long border; our ports of entry are as porous as ever as trade allows human and drug smuggling to flourish; and our neighborhoods bear the brunt of the community releases of migrants who sleep in the streets, under bridges and in parks.

As Arizona politicians routinely note, the federal government’s failure to control the border or adequately assist local agencies deal with the consequences represents a continued shortcoming through decades of presidents from both parties.

Since the federal government refuses to perform its job, the financial and human costs fall to the states – and specifically Arizona.

Local law enforcement and community leaders can sound like a broken record in their requests for more money to mitigate the impacts of border-related crime and humanitarian issues. But as you know through your own visits to the border region, the man-made disaster impacts daily life for people throughout Arizona – and indeed the country.

To that end, Arizona must broaden its support of local law enforcement tackling the crime emanating from the open border.

Since the state approved an FY24 budget, it’s become obvious more is needed. The money has already been put to good use. And additional money translates to greater efforts by your sheriffs and other local law enforcement.

While the $12 million is appreciated, it represents a minimal amount compared to the overall $17.8 billion budget. A doubling of its contribution barely makes a dent in the state budget but means a tremendous amount to the sheriff’s offices that patrol local highways and interstates, interdict drug and human smugglers, and rescue wayward migrants in the scorching desert.

As Governor and the leaders of our Legislature, we understand you must balance spending priorities. And the federal government holds the ultimate responsibility for securing our border and stanching the flow of drugs and illegal crossers. However, can there be any doubt about the federal government’s abject failure in this area? Your eyes haven’t deceived you. Indeed, daily the media attention highlights the disastrous impacts of an open border. The scourge of fentanyl spreads like a cancer in communities large and small. Much of that deadly drug flows through Arizona. Arizona sheriff’s deputies seize millions of fentanyl pills every year. And the smuggling through our state’s highways shows no signs of abating.

To increase our effectiveness, we ask that the state double its contribution to local law enforcement to allow us to deploy more resources to interdict human and drug smugglers. The money allows for more deputies patrolling the roads, more canine handlers and dogs to sniff out drugs, and better technology to match the wealth and equipment used by the cartels.

No amount of state money will allow us to seal the 200-mile-long border to all illegal activity. But by making a small investment, Arizona will at least make a dent while improving the safety of our local communities. As this year demonstrated, our state leaders believe border security through effective law enforcement is worth an investment. We hope you see the wisdom in furthering that financial commitment

Arizona Sheriffs' Association

Article Topic Follows: Arizona News

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