Arizona House Republicans called for securing the southern border in an official legislative proclamation, sponsored by state Rep. Gail Griffin and signed by all 31 members of the Republican majority caucus.
The proclamation (pdf), published on May 25, condemned the continued breach of the border, expressed support for safe communities, and endorsed “immediate, decisive action to secure the border and alleviate the security and humanitarian crises which are associated with illegal immigration.”
The proclamation seconded the opinion of Mark Brnovich, the Attorney General of Arizona, who had earlier referred to the crossing of illegal aliens into the United States as an “invasion.”
“Earlier this year, our office issued a legal opinion determining the current crisis at Arizona’s southern border, fueled by violence & lawlessness of cartels and gangs, legally qualifies as an ‘invasion’ under the Constitution. Thanks to @AZHouseGOP for highlighting our efforts,” Brnovich wrote in a tweet on May 25.
The GOP announcement said there was a 379 percent increase in border encounters during the past fiscal year when compared to the prior year.
Similarly, there was a substantial growth in the number of apprehensions, expulsions, and “getaways,” with 1 million encounters and 300,000 “getaways” between Oct. 1, 2021, and April 11, 2022.
A getaway is an illegal immigrant who is observed crossing the border but is not apprehended and does not turn back to Mexico. In March 2022, Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels said that officials captured more than 7,000 illegal immigrants who attempted to escape. Two years ago, that number was “a manageable” 400 per month, Dannels told members of Congress during an April 6 House hearing.
“These 1.7 million individuals represent 164 countries, including countries with suspected terrorist ties, and 63 percent of them are from countries other than Mexico,” the proclamation stated. Minors made up 8 percent, or 136,000 of the 1.7 million encounters during the last fiscal year.
After crossing the border, the proclamation noted, the smuggled individuals would begin a life of servitude—including drug distribution, modern-day slavery, and sex trafficking—to pay back the Mexican and South American cartels that helped them.
The cartels make use of young people, “some as young as fourteen years old,” to transport the illegals by vehicle to Tucson or Phoenix. Drivers are recruited via social media platforms and paid $1,500 to $2,000 for every person they transport.
Besides this, a porous border allows the flow of illicit drugs into the country.
“In the past fiscal year, the number of illegal drugs seized has skyrocketed, including 10,000 pounds of fentanyl, 180,000 pounds of methamphetamine, 86,000 pounds of cocaine, 5,000 pounds of heroin and 311,000 pounds of marijuana.”
Along with the drugs and illegal aliens, there has been an uptick in criminal activity with “law enforcement documenting 60 homicides, 1,178 assaults, 2,138 drug-related or drug trafficking arrests, 825 burglaries, 1,629 DUIs, 336 weapons arrests and 488 sexual assaults.”
The GOP announcement stressed the threat faced by local communities as well as innocent American citizens, and mentioned the halted southern border wall construction, which has numerous unfinished sections in Arizona.
Several state attorneys general, including Arizona’s Brnovich, sued the Biden administration in April for changing immigration policies established by Congress.
The rule change gives unprecedented authority to asylum officers within the Department of Homeland Security, instead of federal immigration judges, to grant asylum to migrants outright.
“This is nothing more than a radical attempt to set up a system that encourages illegal immigration and undermines the rule of law,” Brnovich said.