Gov. Jan Brewer said the majority of illegal immigrants coming into Arizona are being used as drug mules by cartels.
“We all know that the majority of the people that are coming to Arizona and trespassing are now becoming drug mules,” Brewer told reporters on June 25 following a speech at a Korean War commemoration ceremony. “The drug cartels have taken control of the immigration and illegal trespassing that we are seeing in the state of Arizona.”
Many illegal immigrants depart for the United States looking only for work, she said, but end up under the control of cartels.
“They are criminals. They’re breaking the law when they’re trespassing and they’re criminals when they pack the marijuana and the drugs on their backs,” she said.
Brewer’s remarks on the subject were an elaboration on comments she made during a June 15 debate between the four Republican candidates for governor. Candidate Matt Jette, who supported comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, said during the debate that most of the people who cross illegally into Arizona are “just trying to feed their families.”
In response, Brewer told Jette that the majority are not coming into the country to work. “We are a nation of laws and they’re coming across our border illegally,” she said to Jette.
A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency did not keep statistics on the percentage of illegal border crossers who are apprehended with drugs.