At the National Review Institute’s Ideas Summit, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said, “what we reject is immigration without assimilation, and that is what we have had in the past few decades.”
He said in an interview with NR’s Jay Nordlinger that too much of the U.S. border with Mexico was “open and unprotected” and that “the heroin you have coming into this country is a consequence of neglect.” He adding that about two-thirds of the state’s border with Mexico has a wall, barrier or a fence but one.
“I met [Homeland Security Secretary] John Kelly day before inauguration, and I asked him that his first trip be Arizona – his first trip was to Texas, Arizona and California,” Ducey said. “No one is asking for the border to be sealed, nor did anybody run on the border being sealed, but on being secure, on authorities knowing who’s coming into the country and going out, and having robust ports of entry.”
Ducey said that beyond a more secure border, he counted tax reform, a regulatory reform, and the appointment of conservative-minded judges to the Supreme Court and appeals courts as the changes he saw as priorities in the Trump era. He boasted of appointing Clint Bolick, co-founder of the Institute for Justice, to the Arizona State Supreme Court. Bolick is the first independent, affiliated with neither the Democrats nor the Republicans, ever to be appointed to Arizona’s high court.
He said the way to navigate the arguments about voter identification and combatting voter fraud is to focus on making it “easy to vote and difficult to cheat.”
Arizona’s unemployment rate has been at 5 percent for several months, and a recent report on the state’s economy touted a “growing list of corporate relocations and expansions.”
“I would be remiss if I didn’t remember to thank my partner in Arizona’s terrific job creation record, and that is California Governor Jerry Brown,” Ducey said. “I had one tech company executive whose name you would recognize tell me, ‘in California, we’re so screwed up, because we can afford to be.’ Well, someday that will no longer be the case.”
Ducey also discussed the first major piece of legislation he signed, requiring high school students to pass the civics test that naturalized citizens are required to pass.
“It was the first law we passed in the first week, and you want to talk about the low-hanging fruit in government, this was it,” Ducey said. “When we passed it, we were the only state in the union to this. Now there are fifteen states [with this requirement]. You will not get your high school diploma if you don’t pass this test. “
A fact not well-known outside of Arizona: Ducey was previously CEO of the ice cream parlor chain, Cold Stone Creamery.
“You get a lot of undeserved popularity when you’re serving ice cream, and you lose it all when you balance a budget,” Ducey joked.