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Governor Katie Hobbs speaking with attendees at the 2023 Converge Tech Summit at The Waste Management Phoenix Open at the 17th Hole Skybox at TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona, February 8, 2023. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Rare Bipartisan Agreement Amid Arizona Border Crisis

GOP and Dem lawmakers support Hobbs’ decision to send troops to border

By Steve Kirwan, December 18, 2023 7:46 am

In response to the growing Biden-created crisis at Arizona’s southern border, Gov. Katie Hobbs’ decision to mobilize the Arizona National Guard met with unlikely bipartisan support from Congress. Scrambling to out-comment one another, members of both parties expressed approval, albeit somewhat lukewarm, for her action.

In her Executive Order redirecting the AZ Guard to the Lukeville and San Miguel crossings, Governor Hobbs stated, “With this Executive Order, I am taking action where the federal government won’t. But we can’t stand alone, Arizona needs resources and manpower to reopen the Lukeville crossing, manage the flow of migrants, and maintain a secure, orderly and humane border. Despite continued requests for assistance, the Biden administration has refused to deliver desperately needed resources to Arizona’s border.”

She also implored the President to reopen the Lukeville port due to what she described as “catastrophic” economic harm to Puerto Peñasco, more commonly called Rocky Point, considered to be “Arizona’s Beach,” and a key recreational spot for those in Arizona and surrounding states. Hobbs also tried to make the point that it has an economic impact on Arizona, given that Mexican travelers cannot make shopping trips to Arizona. Reports of canceled reservations, empty restaurants, and recreational venues, especially boat and jet ski rentals, have been abandoned.

Ex-Tucson resident Cindy Lowe, who moved to Rocky Point and invested her life savings into a small Mexican eatery dubbed Ole Mole, summed it up succinctly, “Pretty much everything tourist-related is dead, done, like a ghost town. You go into the resorts, there’s no cars. This is worse than COVID.”

Hobbs posted on social media that on Friday, December 8, 2023, she met with Alfonso Durazo, the Governor of Sonora, Mexico, which shares the border with Arizona, Governor. According to her post, the purpose of the meeting was to “discuss ways we can work together to ensure the prompt reopening of the Lukeville Port of Entry and bring security and stability to the Arizona-Mexico border.”

Then, she briefly toured the Lukeville port on Saturday morning. And, despite having sent the Guard troops home in September, Adjutant General Kerry Muehlenbeck, the top Guard official in Arizona and head of the state Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, supports her desire to redeploy.

Congressman Raul Grijalva speaking with supporters of Senator Elizabeth Warren at a town hall at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, Arizona, August 1, 2019. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Shortly after the end of the earlier border deployment originally ordered by then Gov. Doug Ducey (R), Gen. Muehlenbeck stated, “Mobilizing forces swiftly in support of our state and nation has been a longstanding mission for us, not a recent endeavor. The National Guard will continue to remain ready to provide enhanced capabilities through the mobilization of well-trained and well-equipped personnel.”

In a rather tepid response to Hobb’s deployment decision, the spokesperson for Congressman Juan Ciscomani (R-CD6) stated, “While it’s overdue, I’m glad to see Governor Hobbs sign today’s executive order and take this necessary action to secure our border. What will it take for President Biden to listen to border communities, make this a priority and take just one step in the right direction?”

Democrat Congressman Greg Stanton (CD4) offered a more full-throated endorsement, stating that the border was at a “crisis point,” and that Hobbs was “making the right call.” Stanton said, “Arizonans can’t keep making up for the federal government’s failures. It’s past time for my colleagues here in Congress to put politics aside and work across the aisle to get federal law enforcement the resources they need to do their jobs.”

However, Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-CD7) opposed the Hobbs deployment. In a statement, he said, “The Biden administration’s lack of adequate resources and personnel on our southern border has forced Governor Hobbs to take this last resort action in an attempt to reopen Lukeville and address this mounting humanitarian crisis.” He also demanded that Biden provide adequate personnel to secure the port entries in AZ, followed by the typical Democrat talking points about the border in general, calling for Congressional Republicans to pass “immigration reform.”

The closures at Lukeville and San Miguel have increased concerns that the Biden administration will order more border crossing closures, increasing pressure on Arizona to assume ever greater responsibility for border security and costing Arizona taxpayers millions more.

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