Arizona Governor Extends National Guard Border Mission Over Border Crisis

By Allan Stein
Allan Stein
Allan Stein
Allan Stein is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Arizona.
August 21, 2021 Updated: August 24, 2021

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Aug. 18 a one-year extension of the Arizona Army National Guard’s border security mission, accusing President Joe Biden of having “utterly failed” to contain illegal immigration at the southern border.

“It’s clear that this White House has neither the ability nor the desire to address the border disaster—a crisis of their own making,” Ducey said in a statement.

The extension comes as the federal government earlier this month reported a 21-year record high number of illegal border crossings.

In April, Ducey issued a Declaration of Emergency in Arizona and deployed National Guard troops along the state’s 378-mile southern border with Mexico.

“Illegal immigrant apprehensions are the highest in two decades. Law enforcement is overwhelmed. The situation is out of control,” Ducey said.

Ducey said the situation is the “direct result of reckless policies and failed communication by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris,” and  that extending the Guard’s border mission for one year will guarantee much-needed support for law enforcement serving along the U.S.-Mexico border and prevent crime associated with illegal border crossings.

The Epoch Times has reached out to the Biden administration for comment.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported in August 212,672 illegal immigrant encounters at the southern border, up 13 percent from 188,829 in July.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Southwest border enforcement numbers for July, the number of “unique encounters” for the month was 154,288.

The CBP reported that there were 212,672 encounters in total along the 1,954-mile U.S.-Mexico border, 27 percent of which involved illegal aliens who had at least one previous encounter with border patrol agencies in the previous 12 months.

Of those encounters, 95,788 were processed for explosion under Title 42, while nearly 117,000 illegals were processed under Title 8.

Ducey said the Guard’s border mission will continue with $25 million in funding from the fiscal 2022 budget.

More than 150 Arizona Guard troops are currently serving in border communities in support of local law enforcement. Their duties include camera maintenance and monitoring, assisting with medical operations in detention centers, data analysis, logistics and administrative support to local law enforcement.

Currently, there are over 5,000 soldiers serving in the Arizona Army National Guard.

On Aug. 13, Ducey called for the resignation of Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas following comments he made on the border crisis, stating that the Biden Administration had “completely lost control of the border.”

“A defeatist is not what we need when it comes to fighting for border security,” Ducey said in a statement.

In March, the town of Gila Bend, Arizona, located 100 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, declared a state of emergency after a busload of illegal aliens arrived unannounced.

While no additional buses have arrived, town officials say daily arrivals of illegal aliens on foot continue to be a problem as property crimes have tripled over the past eight months.

Allan Stein
Allan Stein
Allan Stein is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Arizona.