Arizona governor Doug Ducey described the state of the U.S.-Mexico border as “a man-made crisis,” during Friday’s session of National Review Institute’s 2021 Ideas Summit.
While the border has always been an important issue in Arizona politics, Ducey pointed out that Donald Trump’s campaign for president “nationalized the issue” and that his administration’s partnerships with border-state governors “made a real difference” in securing it.
“Where we were in 2020 was dramatically different than where we were before, and then came the Biden administration,” said Ducey.
Ducey explained that while Arizona has acted to shore up enforcement, it can only do so much without federal help, which has not been nearly as forthcoming as it was under Trump. Specifically, Ducey praised the last administration for its crystal-clear messaging as well as negotiation of the “remain in Mexico” and safe-third-nation policies. By contrast, he blasted Biden for either rolling back or getting rid of these, as well as several other important measures.
Biden’s tenure as president has so far been notable for the surge of migrants at the southern border, enticed by these policy changes as well as Biden’s softer rhetoric on the issue of illegal immigration. As Jim Geraghty has noted, the administration has scrambled to address the crisis even as it downplays it, erecting hastily built facilities, relocating staff while still promising to deport fewer people. In March, U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended more than 170,000 at the Southwest border. At one point, staff at holding centers on the border were refusing access to media and even members of Congress, spurring rumors of cramped, unsanitary conditions inside.
In April, Governor Ducey deployed the National Guard and declared a state of emergency.
Ducey was blunt in justifying the decision, saying “it’s become evidently clear that Arizona needs the National Guard, and the White House is aware of that. Yet, to this day, there has been no action from this administration, and it doesn’t look like they are going to act any time soon. If this administration isn’t going to do anything, then we will.”