Message of the Week
In Arizona's four border counties, we have an emergency on our hands. Illegal immigration is taking a severe toll there and on the state in general. The Arizona Corrections system is currently housing more than 4,000 undocumented immigrants, and 2,500 of them have illegally entered the country more than once. The people in our border counties need help, and with the emergency declaration I made this week, help is on the way.
On Monday, I declared a state of emergency in Cochise, Pima, Santa Cruz and Yuma Counties. With this declaration comes $1.5 million from the Governor's Emergency Fund. All of this money will be used to fight criminal activity along the border.
I'm pleased to give this assistance to the people in the border counties who have been dealing with illegal immigration problems for far too long. However, I regret that the state has to step in because the federal government has fallen short.
The U.S. Constitution leaves no doubt that border security issues are the financial and logistical responsibility of the federal government. Thus, I am applying pressure on the federal government to reimburse Arizona for the high costs of illegal immigration. Already this year, I've sent three invoices to the U.S. Department of Justice notifying them that they owe Arizonans a staggering $217 million for the costs of incarcerating illegal immigrants who commit crimes. In past years, we have only been reimbursed pennies on the dollar.
Clearly, we cannot afford to wait for the federal government to deal with Arizona's critical border issues. That's why I am finding new ways that the state can give relief to our citizens living on the Arizona-Mexico border.
To crack down on human trafficking, I have created the nation's first State Illegal Immigration Enforcement Squad, partnering Arizona officers with federal agents to detect, detain, and breakup human smuggling rings.
Auto theft is one of the key crimes in the illegal immigration business. To combat auto theft, I have created a Stolen Vehicle Border Enforcement Strategy. This strategy involves a new high-tech camera system that enables law enforcement to identify stolen vehicles as they travel southbound to the Arizona-Mexico border.
To deter illegal immigrants who are already in our state, Arizona's Fraudulent ID Task Force is running stings to arrest criminals who manufacture fraudulent documents. I also signed a bill prohibiting state and local governments from funding day labor centers. Citizens' tax dollars should never be used to support an illegal act.
I have taken all of these steps because Arizona cannot go on as it has where illegal immigration is concerned. The time has come for meaningful immigration reform, and until the federal problem has been solved, I will do everything I can at the state level to deal with it.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, please contact my office at 1-800-253-0883 and ask to speak to Constituent Services.
Yours Very Truly,