Message of the Week
We know that illegal immigration is like drug smuggling; large, highly organized groups of criminals are behind both. One of the key ways these criminal organizations get illegal immigrants into the country and into jobs is by the use of fraudulent documents, including driver licenses, birth certificates and immigration papers.
Over a year ago, as part of the ongoing effort to combat illegal immigration, I established the Arizona Fraudulent ID Task Force (AFIT). The purpose of this task force is specifically to catch and arrest the major manufacturers and sellers of these fraudulent documents as well as the criminals working higher up in these same organizations.
By June, only a year after it was established, the task force has seized nearly $1.5 million and 19 weapons, as well as confiscating nearly one thousand fraudulent identifications. Additionally, as a result of almost 75 search warrants, over 750 criminal charges have been brought up against 127 defendants.
The numbers are more than just statistics; they are proof that this task force is working.
AFIT consists of state, local and federal law enforcement agencies including:
* Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control
* AZ Department of Public Safety
* AZ Office of Inspector General/Department of Transportation
* AZ Department of Economic Security
* AZ Department of Juvenile Corrections
* AZ Department of Corrections
* Phoenix Police Department
* U.S. Border Patrol
* U.S. Department of State
* Immigration Customs Enforcement
As part of my Secure Borders-Safe Arizona initiative, the task force is working in cooperation with the government of Sonora, Mexico, which ahs provided valuable assistance in running records checks on individuals and vehicles.
This is still a young program. Its members, and Arizona, will continue to work continuously to stem the tide of ID fraud, human smuggling, and other components of illegal immigration.
As always, I appreciate your input, and encourage you to call my office at 602.542.1318 if you have questions or thoughts to share. Or, please visit our website at http://www.azgovernor.gov for information and news in state government.
Yours very truly,