Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey Continues to Fill Border Barrier Gaps as Migrant Encounters Soar

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) announced Monday that he had continued his mission to plug holes in Arizona’s border, this time in Cochise County.

“Today, we continued to follow through on our promise to add physical barriers to the border where possible. We stepped up to the plate in Cochise County. Construction on a 10.25-mile border wall gap began this morning [Monday],” Ducey said. “The unresolved border and public safety crisis caused by the Biden admin continues – in Arizona, we don’t stand idly by when our citizens need us most. Arizona isn’t afraid of a challenge. We will not back down. We will protect our state.”

Like his project in Yuma during August, Ducey will use double-stacked shipping containers welded together and topped with concertina wire to create a temporary barrier in areas without a proper border wall. Video shared by American Daily Independent shows these containers being transported to the county.

However, the past weeks have not been smooth sailing for Ducey, as the federal government has tried to put a stop to his border-plugging projects. After being told to undo the progress made so far, Ducey has not complied with orders and has even sued the Biden administration to affirm Arizona’s right to protect itself as granted by the Constitution.

Cochise County is an area hit hard by the unkempt border, plagued by cartel activity, rampant human smuggling, and a surplus of migrants seeking entry into the country. Between October 2021 and August 2022, 230,235 migrants illegally crossed into Cochise County alone.

Drugs are also an issue for the area, as officials seized 24,299 pounds of illicit drugs in the same period, over 4,000 pounds of fentanyl. County Sheriff Mark Dannels said the action from Ducey is needed in the community.

“The Biden administration has continually put public safety at risk by ignoring border communities,” Dannels said. “We’re doing what we can to address the issues in Cochise County. Our community – its people, hospitals, food banks, nonprofits and law enforcement have been stretched thin for far too long. We’re grateful for Governor Ducey’s bold actions to protect Arizona and its citizens.”

Moreover, data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) revealed that the situation at the southern border is not getting any better. The Arizona Sun Times reported that officials encountered 227,547 migrants at the border in September, the third-highest month recorded since President Joe Biden (D) took office and increased from the lower numbers seen during the summer months. With September marking the end of the 2022 fiscal year, 2,378,944 migrants were reported as encounters at the southern border, 37 percent more than in 2021. The fiscal year 2022 had the highest number of illegal crossings ever recorded.

“Now is not the time to pump the brakes. We must secure the border in any way we can,” Ducey said in response to the border statistics.

Yet, the number of drugs seized during the year fell to a new low. In total, 655,780 pounds of illicit drugs were confiscated in the fiscal year, less than in the past three years. However, seizures of some individual drugs increased compared to last year, including fentanyl. Exactly 14,700 pounds of the opioid were seized in 2022, a jump from 11,000 seized last year. This number equivocates to 6667.8 kilograms of fentanyl. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), one kilogram has the potential to kill 500,000 people, meaning that, hypothetically, enough fentanyl has been confiscated by officials in 2022 to kill 3,333,900,000 people.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Doug Ducey” by Governor Doug Ducey. Background Photo “Border Barrier” by Doug Ducey.

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