Protecting Our Border and Strengthening Our Communities
From the Desk of Katie Hobbs
For decades, both parties in Washington have treated immigration as a political football instead of coming together to actually solve problems. The types of real solutions that would actually help our state — especially our border communities — have been in short supply. Instead, all we hear from politicians is empty rhetoric.
And let’s be clear — disingenuous attacks from Republicans are nothing more than political stunts to cover up for the fact that they haven’t done anything to address this issue for decades. Even after Donald Trump made anti-immigrant policies and the border wall a centerpiece of his campaign, and as president had two years of unified Republican government, he didn’t deliver solutions. And here in Arizona, Republican candidates for governor are publicly making promises to voters that they privately acknowledge they can’t keep. They don’t have real solutions to offer and they don’t want to solve the problem because they’d rather keep using the border as a political attack every election season.
It’s past time for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that addresses both our current crises and our future challenges. We need to secure our border, prevent criminals and traffickers from entering the country, and end the chaos and lawlessness we’ve watched for decades. But let’s also recognize the very real and devastating humanitarian crisis that’s at our doorstep. And no comprehensive immigration reform plan is complete without legislation to give DREAMers the stability and certainty they deserve and a path to citizenship.
Americans want a lawful and orderly immigration process. We need policies that encourage people to choose to participate in a tough but fair legal immigration process and disincentivize people from trying to enter the country illegally. And we can do this while helping boost Arizona’s economy in the short and long term.
For too long, our leaders haven’t been willing to tell the truth and haven’t offered real solutions, which has forced Arizona to continue to bear the brunt of our immigration crisis. As governor, I will use the tools at my disposal to bring resources to our border communities and provide meaningful relief for Arizonans suffering the consequences of decades of federal inaction.
– Secretary Katie Hobbs
ACTIONS AT THE STATE LEVEL
In conversations with law enforcement and local government officials in our border communities, a consistent message emerges: they don’t hear from the 9th Floor. The governor only comes to them for press events. What our border communities need is a partner, not a photo op.
As governor, Katie will always communicate with local government officials, law enforcement, community centers, and health care providers to prioritize getting them what they need. A Hobbs Administration will ensure there is more funding for our border communities.
Boost funding for sheriffs and local law enforcement.
• So long as Washington fails to address the root cause of the border crisis, our border community sheriffs and law enforcement will be the ones facing the consequences day in and day out.
• Katie will provide Department of Public Safety (DPS) assistance directly to sheriffs on the border, ensuring they have the necessary intelligence and resources to handle migrant crossings humanely and efficiently.
Make sure Arizonans are getting the care they need by funding community centers and hospitals.
• Our community centers and hospitals in Yuma, Nogales, Douglas, and Pima County are overwhelmed. They need additional funding to ensure that Arizonans are not denied care due to a lack of doctors, nurses, and other resources.
• Crossing the border is dangerous, especially as it’s getting hotter. Health care providers often end up treating migrants who get stranded in the desert or experience a medical emergency while trying to cross the border. Community centers find themselves expending more and more resources on migrants showing up at their doors with nowhere else to go.
• While these organizations admirably don’t want to turn people away, as governor, Katie will make sure they are properly resourced so that Arizonans know these services will be available to them when they need them most.
ACTIONS AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL
Far and away, the most impactful solution to our immigration crisis would be for the federal government to finally pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation that secures our border, strengthens our economy, and provides a tough but fair path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the United States. An act of Congress is the only way to address the root cause of the problem, rather than relying on the bandaid solutions we’ve been getting for decades.
From modernizing and investing in our ports of entry to addressing labor shortages to avoiding rash decisions on lifting Title 42, it’s imperative that President Biden and Congress take every step necessary to increase border security and give our border communities the tools they need to keep people safe while expanding legal immigration. Additionally, any comprehensive immigration plan must give DREAMers – young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children – the opportunity to become full American citizens.
Bolster security and lower costs for Arizona families by increasing personnel and investing in technology at ports of entry.
• Our ports of entry are severely understaffed and under-resourced, adding significant strain to Arizona’s security and our economy. A boost in resources at and near ports of entry would give us the tools to stop illegal border crossings.
• Additionally, better resourced ports of entry would ease supply chain issues by making the flow of goods into the U.S. smoother and quicker. That would increase our supply of goods and, therefore, bring down the cost of everyday items for Arizona families.
Address labor shortages and grow our economy through legal immigration.
• Right now, Arizona is suffering from severe labor shortages. We see this every day at the grocery store when the checkout lines are longer, at restaurants that are short-staffed, and when we see businesses closing early because they don’t have enough workers. Our indispensable agricultural industry is suffering as well, leading to reductions in fresh produce and increased costs, all due to severe staffing shortages.
• Yet, at the same time, we have a broken visa allocation system that isn’t meeting the needs of the U.S. economy. We need to regularly reevaluate how we’re allocating visas to ensure we offer enough visas for the areas of the economy that desperately need more workers, and reduce the allotment in the sectors that can fill their openings with American workers.
• A higher-functioning visa system will incentivize legal immigration and lead to fewer illegal border crossings, while also supporting the American economy. This will ease the burdens on our border communities, boost our workforce, and get more people in the system paying taxes. It would operate similarly to a guest worker program, which has historically received bipartisan support in Congress and across the country.
Come up with a real plan to address the crisis at the border before lifting Title 42.
• Title 42 isn’t working, as evidenced by the fact that border crossings in Arizona have continued to increase since this policy was put in place – but lifting Title 42 without a clear plan to secure our border would be irresponsible.
• Arizona has spent decades bearing the brunt of Washington’s failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Instead, Washington politicians on both sides of the aisle have used flimsy, stopgap measures like Title 42 as a substitute for real immigration reform and border enforcement. Title 42 isn’t border policy; it’s COVID policy.
• Lifting Title 42 without a short-term plan to address the expected surge in migrants would push our border communities to the brink. What we need is a long term solution to stop the increasing number of migrants that are arriving at our border each month. We need Washington to get its act together and finally pass comprehensive reform with real border security measures.
Ensure that any comprehensive immigration reform package from Congress includes a path to citizenship for DREAMers.
• Without an act of Congress, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients have been stuck in limbo for almost a decade awaiting the next executive order or court ruling. To add to the chaos and uncertainty, because of a recent court ruling, new applicants are no longer accepted.
• DREAMers were brought to America as young children through no fault of their own, and they often don’t even remember the country where they came from. They’ve worked hard, played by the rules, and received an education here in the United States.
• These young people are valued members of our communities, and a path to citizenship for DREAMers must be part of any comprehensive immigration reform package from Congress.
Fully staff and resource immigration courts to reduce the backlog in cases.
• America has a long history of welcoming people who face persecution or death in their home countries, and we’re a stronger nation because of it. But these asylum seekers are now waiting on average five years just to appear in court.
• Our immigration courts are experiencing the largest backlog in history with more than 1.7 million cases, and our immigration judges and court staff are completely overwhelmed with the caseload. This is yet one more consequence of Congress’s decades of inaction.
• As migrants continue to arrive at the border, the backlog continues to grow and the guarantee of due process fades. Our immigration courts are in crisis, adding another layer of chaos and frustration to an already deeply broken immigration system.