Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday urged President Biden to declare a national emergency at the border, a day after the Republican governor deployed the National Guard and issued an emergency declaration in response to the migrant crisis.
“President Biden, if you care about the border, if you care about stopping the cartels who are engaging in all kinds of bad acts…if you want to stop the disaster that’s unfolding here and will only get worse in the coming months, President Biden you should declare a national emergency and deploy the vast powers of your administration to stop what’s happening here,” Ducey said at a press conference at the border near Yuma.
Ducey announced on Tuesday that he was deploying 250 National Guard members to help deal with the escalating numbers, that has seen record numbers of migrant encounters and overwhelmed local authorities. He was at the border meeting with local law enforcement and border officials about the crisis and related security threats.
The Guard will be involved with installing and maintaining border cameras, collecting data, analyzing imagery for trends in border crossings, and helping with operations at detention centers, Ducey’s office said.
The Biden administration has refused to call the situation a “crisis,” instead calling it a “challenge” and blaming the Trump administration for ending legal asylum pathways. Critics have blamed the Biden administration’s rolling back of Trump-era enforcement and border protections.
Ducey has slammed alleged inaction and a lack of planning from the White House.
‘We are getting whiplash from all the mixed signals you are sending,” he said on Wednesday.
Ducey had been mulling deploying the Guard, but had urged the federal government to reimburse the state for the deployment beforehand. On Wednesday he confirmed that so far the cost was being paid for by the state.
“We’re willing to pay for this out of our own budget, even though this is a federal responsibility and the costs should be paid by the federal government,” he said.
Ducey has support from his Democratic senators. Both Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema expressed support for the moves Both senators later wrote to President Biden, urging him to reimburse Arizona for the National Guard deployment.
“We know the National Guard can provide important assistance on the border and note that there are approximately 500 Guardsmen already deployed to the Yuma and Tucson sectors,” the Democrats wrote in a letter. “As such, we request you reimburse the state of Arizona for the deployment the Governor announced yesterday to support border security and continue to increase DHS personnel who can further assist with the processing of migrants, securing the border, and executing important security missions”