Governor Asks Gates For Border Resources
Calls for Continued National Guard Presence, Increased Counter-Drug Funding
Governor Janet Napolitano called upon the federal government to increase resources
at the border in Arizona to fight illegal border crossings and drug smuggling, writing in a letter to
Defense Secretary Robert Gates that now is the "wrong time" to let border enforcement efforts
"The situation along the U.S.-Mexico border continues to pose many serious problems for the
state of Arizona," Governor Napolitano wrote. "The continued increase in drug-trafficking
activity, coupled with reductions to the National Guard Counter Drug Program, and the scheduled draw-down of Operation Jump Start (OJS) forces, severely hinder Arizona's ability to stop the threat of illegal drugs, trafficking, and narco-terrorism across our border," she continued.
In her letter, the Governor made three main requests: that Secretary Gates work with the National Guard to ensure maximum deployments in Operation Jump Start; that Secretary Gates use his administrative authority to direct $6 million in extra funding to the National Guard Counter Drug Program in Arizona; and that the federal government direct some resources included in the Merida Initiative, a new U.S. counter-drug effort aimed at Mexico and Central America, to border state governments in the U.S. and Mexico that are currently fighting drug trafficking.
The Governor wrote that Operation Jump Start, which has reduced border crossings in the
Southwest by almost a third, should not be drawn down now, and asked Gates to ensure that
Arizona receive its fair share of Operation Jump Start resources should Congress succeed at
continuing funding for the program through September 2008.
Writing that the National Guard Counter Drug Program is underfunded and resources for it "have not been fairly allocated to those areas with the greatest need," the Governor urged Secretary Gates to use his administrative authority to direct full and fair funding to the Counter-Drug Program in Arizona and other border states. The Governor also requested that some funding from the Merida Initiative, a new federal-driven "security cooperation initiative" focused on Mexico and Central America, be directed to U.S. and Mexican states for their anti-drug trafficking efforts.
A copy of the Governor's letter to Secretary Gates is attached. For more information about the
Office of the Governor, please visit www.azgovernor.gov.