Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday announced that he is deploying the state’s National Guard to the border and is issuing an emergency declaration in response to the growing migrant crisis that has overwhelmed local officials.
“The situation in our border communities is just as bad, if not worse, than the coverage we’ve been seeing,” Ducey said announcing the moves.
Ducey had indicated for weeks that he was considering deploying the Guard and had requested federal reimbursement to do so.
“Deployment of the National Guard is critical to dealing with this crisis, and we are actively engaged in planning with the Guard,” a spokesperson for the Republican governor told Fox News last week.
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.
Others in the state had urged him to deploy the Guard even before receiving reimbursement, with state Attorney General Mark Brnovich urging him to deploy “even if it means we have to act now and fight for the federal dollars later.”
On Tuesday, Ducey again criticized the Biden administration’s handling of the border surge, accusing it of action in the face of the crisis.
“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,” he said. “If this administration isn’t going to do anything, then we will.”
The Biden administration has come under heavy fire for its handling of the crisis at the border, which saw more than 172,000 migrants encountered in March alone. Critics have blamed the rollback of Trump-era policies that have led to packed migrant facilities and the release of family units into the U.S. interior.
The Biden administration has instead blamed the Trump administration’s policies on legal asylum, as well as root causes in Central America for driving the crisis. Biden on Saturday described the situation as a “crisis” for the first time, but the White House has since walked that back — saying that he was describing the situation in Central America.
“The president does not feel that children coming to our border seeking refuge from violence, economic hardships and other dire circumstances is a crisis,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday.