January 19, 2022
Dear Senators Sinema and Kelly:
As we enter a new year, we urge you to take action and not wait another day to address the border crisis in our home state. It is negligent to let another day, week, month, or year pass without Arizona’s US Senators leading on a solution to solve the revolving door border policy that negatively affects our state.
As Arizona’s elected law enforcement leaders across the state, we continue to see the border situation deteriorate and it is having real impacts on all of our communities.
The border crisis is a clear national security concern, humanitarian crisis, public health crisis, and it’s fueling the drug epidemic in every state. We are sure you know the record-breaking statistics from this past year of failed border policies, but here are a few highlights to better understand the totality of the circumstances:
- This past year the US broke the record for most drug overdose deaths, with over 100,000 Americans dying of drug overdoses, an increase of 28.5% from the previous year. These drugs are coming through in massive quantities because of federal inaction.
- In FY21 CBP alone arrested illegal border crossers with dangerous previous convictions that include:
- 1,178 people with previous convictions for assault,
- 2,138 for illegal drug possession or trafficking,
- 825 for burglary, 1,629 for driving under the influence,
- 336 for illegal weapons possession,
- 60 for homicide,
- and 488 for sexual offenses.
Just how many records have to be broken before the US Senate takes action to protect our Arizona communities?
From the Yuma County farmers who have to throw away an entire field of crops due to illegal immigrants trespassing through their fields, to the parents in Pinal County dealing with the death of their teenagers due to fentanyl overdoses, to the Cochise County family of a woman killed in a car crash which was caused by a human smuggler transporting people illegally, these heartbreaking consequences are preventable.
Governor Ducey has drafted federal legislation that the Arizona Sheriff’s Association supports. We urge you to take immediate action to introduce it and work with your colleagues to get it to the President’s desk. This legislation provides the minimal action that needs to be taken before any other effort to address our country’s drug problem will be effective. It includes the following provisions:
- Completion of the border wall, physical barriers and virtual surveillance;
- A requirement that asylum seekers who have traveled through another country must have attempted to claim asylum in that country;
- A requirement for asylum seekers to claim asylum at a port of entry;
- An increase in immigration judges;
- Additional funding for local law enforcement and humanitarian efforts; and
- That the federal government or its representatives must make clear that the United States’ borders are not open for immigration except through a port of entry and through legal means.
As the highest elected law enforcement leaders, we are calling on you for action. We have spent countless time briefing and giving tours to engaged congressional members from around the country who travel thousands of miles to learn from professionals about a border crisis, so we know there’s genuine interest in solving this problem. Now we need to hear from our United States Senators that you’re willing to engage and fix this problem. We need your support and we need it now!
We stand ready to enforce the rule of law in Arizona and committed to protecting our counties, state, and nation, and we want you to join us.
Mark Dannels Mark Lamb
President Arizona Sheriff’s Association Vice-President Arizona Sheriff’s Association
Cochise County Sheriff Pinal County Sheriff