Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is keeping National Guard troops at the U.S.-Mexico border in his state for another year, saying that the situation is “out of control” and that the actions of President Joe Biden, Vice-President Kamala Harris, and their administration have created an “escalating man-made crisis at the border.”
“The Biden-Harris administration has utterly failed to secure the border,” Ducey said in a statement issued by his office Wednesday. “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.”
He added that apprehensions of immigrants entering the United States are at the “highest in two decades.”
“Law enforcement is overwhelmed,” the Republican governor added in the statement. “The situation is out of control. This situation is the direct result of reckless policies and failed communication by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.”
More than 150 Arizona National Guard members are at the border, after having been deployed there in April. They are under the leadership of the Arizona Adjutant General and Director of the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, Maj. Gen. Kerry Muehlenbeck, who said their mission is to support local law enforcement while addressing border security and public safety needs in multiple counties.
Their duties include assisting with medical operations, camera maintenance and monitoring, data analysis, and logistics and administrative support to local law enforcement, the governor’s press release.
The National Guard was sent in after Ducey issued an emergency declaration while responding to the immigration crisis, which was overwhelming local officials.
“The brave men and women of the Arizona National Guard are standing in the gaps,” Ducey said in the statement. “Their mission directly contributes to the success of law enforcement officers working to maintain law and order on Arizona’s southern border. I’m grateful to all those who serve our state and are working day and night to keep Arizonans safe.”
This past Friday, Ducey called on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to resign after he was heard in a leaked audio saying that the border crisis is “unsustainable.”
Mayorkas has also announced that 212,672 migrants were encountered at the border in July, marking a 13% increase over June’s total of 188,000 migrant encounters in June. In comparison, there were 40,929 encounters in July 2020.
The state’s FY 2022 budget, passed and signed in June, includes $25 million in state funding for the National Guard’s border mission, and another $30 million to help law enforcement with border security operations, the governor’s office said. This is in addition to existing funding for the Border Strike Force.
Ducey and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this year asked that all U.S. governors also send available law enforcement resources to the border, and Ducey in May joined 19 other governors to push Biden and Harris to reverse their border policies.
The Arizona governor also lobbied the administration in July to continue Title 42 border protections, calling on Congress to protect the health-based rule from interference from Biden and Harris.
In years past, Ducey also sent members of the Guard to the border, when he positioned them in April 2018 to assist the Border Patrol after a request made by then-President Donald Trump. Troops in that mission were there until November 2020.