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Arizona Democrat Gov. Katie Hobbs is being blasted by Republicans over her decision to scrap a Border Strike Force in the state.
Hobbs announced that she is planning to reroute funding for the strike force, which was set up in 2015 by former Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, and potentially put it toward coordinating a law enforcement response at the border.
“What our budget intends to do is to reallocate those funds where they can be most purposeful. I’ve said this before, recent reporting has indicated it’s not a force, it’s not striking at the border, and so we can repurpose those dollars to where they can be more beneficial in terms of coordinating a law enforcement response at the border,” she said during a tour of the border with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
The force is part of the Arizona Department of Public Safety and “not only targets border crimes but provides a comprehensive collaborative approach to help secure Arizona’s border and thwart transnational criminal organizations.”
“The BSF operations focus on roving criminal interdiction patrol details, intelligence-led remote area operations, outbound details, and deterrent saturation patrols to identify, deter, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations,” it says.
“However, Hobbs has referenced reporting by the Arizona Republic, which cast doubt on the work of the unit and found that most of its work occurred outside the four main border counties, although it did report that the force had made some impressive drug busts. Jeffrey Glover, the new head of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, also said recently that he supports the move to reroute the funding,” Fox News reported.
Arizona Republicans are not happy about the possible move, saying it’s part of a pattern from Hobbs’ administration and will weaken border security in the state as the nation grapples with a historic migrant crisis.
Rep. Paul Gosar said: “In the same manner that Joe Biden has destroyed our country with his welcomed support for the prolonged lawlessness and drug crisis along our southern border, Katie Hobbs is destroying Arizona in three short months since taking office by her reckless dismantling of the Border Strike Task Force. Countless more people will die from Hobbs’ open border policies.”
Rep. Andy Biggs called the move “shameful.”
“The courageous members of the Arizona Border Strike Force Bureau keep Arizonans safer every day. There is no rational reason to undermine border and national security efforts amid a historic border crisis,” Biggs said.
Rep. Debbie Lesko said the force “was created to help combat the criminal cartels who are now freely smuggling migrants and record amounts of deadly drugs across our southern border. It is unacceptable that Governor Hobbs would take away this important resource meant to restore Arizona’s border security and stop the criminal cartels.”
Rep. Eli Crane argued that dismantling the Border Strike Force is “foolish and indicative of her party’s cowardly and destructive border policies,” adding, “The Border Strike Task Force was established to protect Arizona’s communities from international criminal organizations – namely the Mexican cartels plaguing our southern border with illicit drug smuggling and human trafficking.”
Crane accused Hobbs of having “done nothing to secure our border or make Arizona’s families safer.”
“Instead of working tirelessly to protect Arizona’s families from the deadly effects of Mexican fentanyl and sex traffickers, she’s too busy waging war on “hair discrimination” and vetoing common sense budget proposals that would help everyday Arizonans. Now, by announcing plans to abolish the Border Strike Task Force, she’s joining the likes of Secretary Mayorkas and President Biden in actively worsening the crisis at our border.”
Earlier this year after Hobbs was sworn into office, Arizona dismantled its makeshift border wall made of shipping containers that was celebrated by former Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.
The shipping container “border wall” was also the target of a Biden administration lawsuit.
“Footage taken on Jan. 3 showed construction machinery removing a line of shipping containers placed along the U.S.–Mexico border in Yuma, Arizona, which coincided with the day Hobbs was sworn in as governor. Ducey, who in mid-December agreed to dismantle the wall for which he had once been an ardent advocate, ordered the disassembly of the makeshift barrier as one of his final acts in office,” the Epoch Times reported.
“He said earlier that the container wall was always meant to be a temporary construction intended to help stem the tide of illegal border crossings until a permanent solution could be found. Illegal immigration has soared under President Joe Biden’s watch, with unauthorized crossings topping 2.76 million in the fiscal year 2022, according to Customs and Border Protection data. That figure broke the previous record by over 1 million and was more than twice the highest level notched during the tenure of former President Donald Trump, who made stemming illegal immigration a key part of his platform,” the outlet added.
Hobbs claimed the makeshift border wall was ineffective political grandstanding.
“It’s a political stunt. It’s a visual barrier that is not actually providing an effective barrier to entry, and I think a waste of taxpayer dollars,” she told Arizona radio station KJZZ in a recent interview. “The containers aren’t working. There are many pictures of people climbing over them.”