The governors of both Arizona and New Mexico declared states of
emergency along their borders in recent weeks in response to an increase in
border crimes such as drug smuggling and human smuggling.
The move immediately made $750,000 in state emergency funds available
to four counties along the border in New Mexico. Four communities in Arizona
also got $1.5 million. Both governors have pledged to do more.
The scramble has left some pundits wondering whether California will be
next. According to KXTV-Channel 10 in Sacramento, CA, state assemblyman Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, recently
called on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to make such a declaration for California.
“The timing is good,” Nunez said. “There’s an opportunity for three
states to have a joint effort in lobbying the federal government.”
Meanwhile, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano said at a recent news
conference that the federal government just isn’t doing enough – or providing
enough money – to adequately secure the nation’s borders.
“As a state government, I must acknowledge our federal government is
falling short,” she said.
The Sierra Vista Herald reported that Napolitano has joined forces with Sonora, Mexico’s, Gov. Eduardo
Bours to step up enforcement along the border by using off-duty police from
Arizona received $1.5 million in federal funding when Napolitano
declared a state of emergency in four border counties last week. The state is
giving that money to the police departments in the cities of Nogales, Bisbee
and San Luis as well as the Santa Cruz County sheriff’s department.
The money will be used to add a total of 13 officers for each duty
shift. The officers will be regular officers who are working overtime in their
off-duty hours. Those officers will be used to investigate border crimes such
as drug trafficking, human smuggling, fraudulent ID cards and car theft.
The Herald also
reported that Bours plans to set up checkpoints on four state highways south of
the border in order to screen people heading north. Those checkpoints will also
begin collecting names and fingerprints, which will be used to create a
database of those who frequently travel to the border.