When is it political grandstanding and when is it responding to a crisis?
After Wednesday’s visit to the border by Arizona Gov. Ducey, leading Democrats in Arizona accused him of the prior, not the latter.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero accused the governor of wasting taxpayer dollars and political grandstanding. She would have the state support the efforts of local governments in providing humanitarian support for the undocumented migrants who have crossed the border.
Democrats in the Legislature also point to Wednesday’s border event as a “political stunt” by the governor, contending that after four years of Trump policies it will take time for the state and federal government to build the infrastructure needed to handle the influx of immigrants.
We don’t agree with Tucson’s mayor or the handful of Democrats in the Legislature who point to politics as the primary reason for Gov. Ducey’s visit. We appear to be joined in that opposition by both Arizona U.S. senators, Kelly and Sinema, who have appealed to the Biden administration for more federal assistance to address the crisis.
Mayor Romero is right in stating this is a humanitarian crisis. Local governments were completely unprepared for the surge in people crossing the border. Earlier this month five Cochise County mayors signed a letter declaring their concerns on changes in federal policies that have had serious consequences for their respective communities.
“It is unfortunate that the federal government has chosen to enact a policy with no local input, thereby placing a detrimental burden on small, rural communities in Cochise County,” the letter states.
The responsibility for creating this humanitarian crisis falls squarely on the Biden Administration. The number of people crossing the border illegally has increased dramatically since the election of President Biden last year and the problem has been amplified by his decision to return to the Obama-era policy of “catch and release.” Border Patrol agents no longer spend their time at checkpoints or in returning those who choose to cross the border illegally, they have been reassigned to providing care for unaccompanied minors and other undocumented aliens.
Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels has reported a dramatic increase in illegal crossings at the border, referencing his agency’s network of more than 700 cameras that document the activity and indicate there has been a tenfold increase comparing March 2020 to March 2021.
Blaming President Trump, when his policies proved effective in limiting illegal crossings, and criticizing Gov. Ducey’s efforts to attract federal assistance for the crisis turns this into a political issue. It is the governor’s job to respond to this crisis and he is right to seek help from an administration that has thus far been ineffective in its efforts to slow the surge of crossings.
We find it interesting that Mayor Romero and Democrats in the Legislature choose not to criticize Arizona’s U.S. senators — both of whom are Democrats — who have also urged the Biden Administration to provide more federal assistance for the border crisis in Arizona.
This isn’t a political issue, it’s a humanitarian crisis.