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AZ Gov. Ducey deploying Nat’l Guard troops to Mexico border amid illegal immigrant surge

Service members. (Bob Gathany/[email protected] HVT/TNS)
April 21, 2021

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced on Tuesday that he is deploying 250 National Guardsmen to the U.S.-Mexico border as the surge of illegal immigrants continues.

“The situation in our border communities is just as bad—if not worse—than the coverage we’ve been seeing,” the governor said in a statement. “It’s become evidently clear that Arizona needs the National Guard, and the White House is aware of that. Yet, to this day, there has been no action from this administration, and it doesn’t look like they are going to act any time soon. If this administration isn’t going to do anything, then we will.”

The governor also declared a state of emergency at the border and will allocate $25 million in initial funding for the mission.

“The dedicated members of the Arizona National Guard stand ready to support our local law enforcement partners as they address border security, just like we have done for many years when called upon,” said Brigadier General Kerry L. Muehlenbeck. “Our guard members will tackle a wide range of tasks including medical operations, camera maintenance and monitoring, data analysis, and logistics and administrative support to local sheriffs. I am proud of the men and women of the Arizona National Guard for their commitment to serving and protecting our state, all while they balance federal requirements and full-time civilian commitments.”

In March, U.S. Customs & Border Protection apprehended over 170,000 illegal immigrants at the Southwest border, including nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children — more than four times the number apprehended from the same period in 2020.

“The crisis at the border is serious and cannot be taken lightly,” said Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot. “The Arizona National Guard will provide much-needed support to our officers and safety officials, and will help ensure Yuma and other border communities are further protected from dangerous and illegal activity.”

According to the announcement, Gov. Ducey will visit Yuma on Wednesday to discuss the situation with local officials and law enforcement agencies in greater detail.

“The federal government’s actions have made the border less secure. This threatens the safety of our communities and law enforcement,” Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels said. “Border towns and officers need support as the crisis at the border escalates. I’m grateful to Governor Ducey for taking action and sending the National Guard to help.”

“We welcome immigrants with open arms — but it needs to be done legally and orderly to ensure we are protecting our communities, state, and nation,” he continued.