Construction of the border wall came to an abrupt stop by President Joe Biden, leaving area residents left with more problems than just a lack of national security. [Photo by John Backer]

On Thursday, Governor Doug Ducey signed H.B. 2317, sponsored by Rep. John Kavanagh, legislation described as “the most meaningful border security legislation in Arizona history.” The bill includes record investments in border security.

The Governor’s Office says that H.B. 2317 coupled with targeted investments from the fiscal year 2023 budget, dedicates a record $564 million to help to secure our border with a physical barrier, address critical public safety staffing shortages, and modernize the technology and public safety equipment to target criminal activity and keep our citizens safe.

“The number of migrant encounters has skyrocketed at our border, overwhelming law enforcement and the Border Patrol,” said Kavanagh. “Thanks to the absent federal government, our border is in chaos and out of control. We need more support and physical barriers. This is a reasonable investment in Arizona’s safety and security. I’m grateful for Governor Ducey’s leadership to take action and secure the border.”

As law enforcement works to address the humanitarian crisis, their efforts to address criminal activity on the border are thwarted. A physical structure and an enhanced virtual system will mitigate the unlawful flow of migrants across the border and ensure that law enforcement can address the criminal activity that originates at our border and flows into our state and throughout our country.

“This investment is critical to saving lives both on the border and within our communities,” said Tim Roemer, Director of the Arizona Department of Homeland Security and the state’s Chief Information Security Officer. “Not only is this a border crisis, it’s a humanitarian crisis – and it’s only getting worse. More and more migrants are making the dangerous journey, fentanyl deaths are spiking and danger continues to escalate. This funding will go toward critical resources and tools to help us combat dangerous transnational organizations and protect victims from their horrific crimes.”

“The escalating southern border crisis and lack of federal action is taking a toll on Cochise County and all Arizona communities,” said John Ladd, Cochise County rancher. “These significant investments from Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature are crucial in supporting ranchers like myself and protecting our great state — and I’m grateful for the Governor’s continued support.”

“Our nation is facing the worst border crisis in years due to the federal government’s inaction, and our communities are paying the price,” said Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb. “Our state leaders and law enforcement have been taking action, doing all they can to protect Arizona. It is crucial we have the necessary resources along the southern border, and I appreciate Governor Ducey’s efforts to make that happen.”

“When the southern border is secure, Cochise County and the entire state are safer,” said Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels. “Lax border policies from the federal government and U.S. Congress are putting Arizonans in danger. We’re taking action in Cochise County to mitigate the issue and protect our community.”

The Border Security Fund includes:

  • $335 million to construct and maintain a border fence, purchase or install border security technologies, and to pay associated administrative costs

  • $53.4 million for deputy sheriff compensation

  • $30 million for local prosecution and imprisonment of individuals charged with drug trafficking, human smuggling, illegal immigration, and other border-related crimes

  • $30 million for a new State Emergency Operations Center facility

  • $20 million for a State match to a new Cochise County Jail facility

  • $15 million for a Department of Public Safety southern border coordinated response center

  • $15 million for local law enforcement costs for participating in a program with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

  • $15 million for transportation of individuals seeking asylum

  • $10 million to reduce trafficking

  • $10 million for the National Guard to support the Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement agencies in the southern Arizona border region

  • $10 million for emergency health care and testing for immigrants along the southern Arizona border

  • $800,000 for the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs State Guard chain of command

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