Our nation’s Sheriffs are literally on the frontline of the crisis on our border. To suggest there is not a crisis is to be intellectually dishonest. The crisis is neither new, nor manufactured. Sheriffs know this because we have been addressing it for decades. We have been impacted by the public safety crisis in witnessing safety in our communities being eroded by drug trafficking, overdoses, and transnational criminal organizations. Like all thoughtful Americans, we are concerned about the national security nexus to the lack of border security. We do not know who is coming across the border.
In the age of international terrorism, this is a clear national security concern. The crisis is real and our nation’s Sheriffs stand together every day, as your elected public safety professionals, to meet this crisis.
Sheriffs need to be heard as part of our nation’s address of how to handle this crisis. Between us, we have hundreds of years of experience handling public safety issues related to border security and illegal immigration in our counties. Too often, Sheriffs have not been heard or effectively consulted. That is a lost opportunity to bring the real experts to the table.
This is especially true of the 31 border Sheriffs and those Sheriffs in the western United States most directly impacted by the crisis. We are strong, practical leaders not guided by political partisanship or concern over who wins the gamesmanship of political rhetoric. We are guided by a firm commitment to public safety in our respective counties.
We need to be heard not as a gratuitous effort, but rather as thoughtful consultation of elected officials entrusted by our citizens to address these complex issues. We have been keeping our counties safe for decades.
The Arizona Sheriffs’ Association endorses and supports the attached position on border security and immigration adopted by the Southwest Border Sheriffs’ Coalition. This is sensible, nonpartisan and will help guide us forward. We hope that the leaders in Washington, DC, of all political parties, hear us and listen to the experts who proudly serve on the frontline of this crisis.
As always, Arizona’s Sheriffs welcome a constructive discussion with our national elected officials.