As a former governor of Arizona, you know the devastating effects illegal immigration and the Mexican drug cartels have on our state. As secretary of Homeland Security, you know the Tucson Sector along Arizona’s southern border has become the gateway for drug cartels and human smuggling activity.
You recently made comments stating that Arizona’s border “is as secure now as it’s ever been.” Most residents of Arizona would disagree with your statement, and in fact, most would believe the violence and increased gang activity has only become worse. Please see the following examples that illustrate the seriousness of the continued violence plaguing our border.
The escalating war between the Mexican government and the drug cartels is more dangerous now than ever, and it’s no longer just a life-threatening situation for citizens of Mexico. Now, Arizona’s local law enforcement officials are having their lives threatened by Mexican drug cartels operating in Arizona.
It has been estimated that 17 percent of those crossing the border illegally already have a criminal record in the United States.
It has been reported that the drug cartels detonated a car bomb near our border in Juarez, Mexico. This level of sophistication in the drug cartels’ terrorist activities is just the latest alarm bell that shows this is not just a border issue, but a serious national security issue.
According to a recent report by the U.S. Justice Department, Mexican drug cartels “maintain drug distribution networks or supply drugs to distributors” in over 200 U.S. cities.
In 2005, as governor, you stated that the federal government was “moving too slow” on border security. You were also quoted saying, “This is a federal responsibility, and they’re not meeting it. I’ve just come to the conclusion (that) we’ve got to do what we can at the state level until the federal government picks up the slack.” Again, Arizona is doing just that.
It’s been five years since you declared Arizona’s southern border in a state of emergency and that Arizona needed to act because the federal government would not.
Secretary Napolitano, you are now in a position to do exactly what you said the federal government wasn’t doing five years ago. The citizens of Arizona know the 1,200 National Guardsmen (less than 600 in Arizona) that will be sent to the border on Aug. 1 will not secure our border and get rid of the Mexican drug cartels once and for all.
We don’t need National Guardsmen doing administrative work at the border. We need security.
The problems we face in Arizona are not getting through to Washington, D.C. I urge you and President Obama to come to Arizona and see for yourself the violence that is taking place near the border. You will find that the state of emergency you declared in 2005 exists today.
Finally, I ask you and President Obama to please take this problem seriously and send the necessary resources to secure the border and protect Arizona citizens from the ruthless drug cartels once and for all.
— Ben Quayle is a candidate for Congress in Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District. He wrote this letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on July 28.