Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano declared an emergency Monday in four border counties because of problems related to lax border enforcement and moved to provide local governments in those counties with up to $1.5 million in state funding.
Napolitano's order directly released $200,000 from the state's emergency fund for disasters while her emergency council released an additional $1.3 million, spokeswoman Jeanine L'Ecuyer said.
$1.5 million is chicken feed for a multi-billion dollar problem. I see her move as window dressing, similar to the recent move by New Mexico Democratic Governor Bill Richardson to put up $1.75 million for border security. But these moves are very important politically because they make it harder for politicians in Washington to pretend that the border and immigration problems are minor. Two elected Democratic governors have now gone on record with declarations of emergency stating that border security and illegal immigration are major problems.
Tony Garza, the US ambassador to Mexico and a friend of President George W. Bush, responded on Tuesday night that violence “from Matamoros to Tijuana” was “destroying the social and economic fabric of our border communities”.
“The longer that violence continues, the tougher it becomes for many Americans to talk about Mexicans as our trusted partners with mutual interests,” he said in a speech in Denver.
One argument put forth by some members of the Open Borders crowd is that we have to keep the border open to keep Mexico stable. Well, Nuevo Laredo Mexico has degenerated into lawlessness because of the open border. This argument for open borders gets it exactly backwards. Closed borders will take the incentives away from organized crime to corrupt Mexican politics for the purpose of supporting illegal narcotics production and smuggling. Also, Mexico's problems are causing lots of crime in the United States and therefore victimizing lots of Americans. We need protection against what Mexico is right now.
"Both federal governments let us down. There doesn't seem to be any sense of urgency,'' said Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona, a Democrat seeking re-election next year, in a telephone interview Tuesday, a day after declaring a state of emergency in four border counties. Napolitano said "ranchers are at their wits' end'' over smuggled immigrants who damage their property and livestock.
In July, Arizona's Napolitano met with about 100 law enforcement supervisors to discuss border smuggling and violence. Last week, she wrote to Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, saying she was ``increasingly disappointed by red tape'' and complaining that her efforts to have 12 state police officers work alongside federal border and immigration agents had been turned down.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., toured the border Monday and said Richardson was right to declare an emergency and he hoped it would call attention to the needs of the region.
The state Republican Party also commended the governor in a news release issued Monday.
Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, is crafting a measure to ask voters next year to spend the money to erect a climb-proof fence wherever possible from Yuma to east of Douglas.
Pearce acknowledged Tuesday he doesn't have a price tag. A similar fence erected by federal officials near San Diego cost about $1.7 million a mile; the Arizona border stretches for 341 miles.
For less than $1 billion all of Arizon'a border with Mexico could be closed to illegal movements of people and a great deal of the drug trafficking could be stopped. For less than $10 billion we could build a barrier across the entire length of the US-Mexico border. We should start building the barrier immediately.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2005 August 17 02:20 PM Immigration Border Control|