(The Center Square) – Arizona taxpayers are giving $10 million to the Nogales Police Department as concerns about ports of entry mount.
Gov. Katie Hobbs announced the decision Friday to help the border community buy “communications technology” to bolster its border efforts following changes in the federal port of entry policies.
“Time and again I’ve asked the Biden administration for assistance at the border, but instead they have chosen to redirect resources to speed the release of migrants without the support and coordination our local communities deserve,” Hobbs said in a news release.
“Arizona is being overwhelmed, and we can’t afford to lose manpower at our ports of entry. I’m glad to deliver border security resources to our communities, but the federal government needs to do its job and take action to ensure our border is secure and the migration process is orderly and humane,” she added.
Customs and Border Protection has moved some of their agents from the legal ports of entry to assisting with Border Patrol as migrants continue to cross into the United States illegally in large numbers. Several officials in southern Arizona criticized the decision to have fewer employees at the ports of entry, saying it poses both an efficiency and national security risk.
“We don’t want another 9/11 tragedy to occur because our ports are vulnerable and weak with low staffing numbers because of this directive to help Border Patrol. Washington and DHS are doing a disservice to both organizations by not properly staffing or funding them to the best our abilities,” Jaime Chamberlain, chairman of the Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority, wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Sept. 15, The Center Square reported.
In addition, Douglas Mayor Donald C. Huish told The Center Square on Wednesday that wait times at the ports of entry have gone up to an hour and a half because of the change.
Hobbs has taken a more strident tone with the Biden administration in recent weeks on border security issues.
“But as it stands today, Arizona is being overwhelmed. I’m calling on Congress and the Biden administration to come together immediately to deliver much needed border security to the State of Arizona. Federal officials need to put politics aside and pass real solutions that will give our state the resources it needs to manage the increase in migrants at the border,” she said in a statement on Sept. 14.