The Herald/Review: Border security, front and center

 In In the News

The Herald/Review
Editorial Board
September 18, 2018

NOTE: “For Cochise County, identifying where the candidates stand on border security, and their willingness to do what’s necessary to accomplish it, is vital to assuring the safety of local communities. We stand with the Border Patrol union’s support of Gov. Ducey on this issue.”

SIERRA VISTA — It’s not surprising that the Border Patrol union has announced its support for Republican incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey over his challenger, Democrat David Garcia, in the Nov. 6 election. The endorsement highlights the issue of border security and the opinion of union leadership on which candidate will better serve the interests of the organization.

Gov. Ducey has been comparably aggressive in his efforts to stem criminal activity at the border, agreeing to call out the National Guard earlier this year and allocating funds in 2016 to create the “Border Strike Force,” a unit of state law enforcement who partner with local and federal agencies to stop smuggling and human trafficking. Former Republican Gov. Jan Brewer and her predecessors aimed Arizona’s resources at illegal immigration by adopting laws and fighting with the federal government on its failure to stop the flow of immigrants crossing the border.

Garcia’s campaign appears to focus less on border security and more on immigration. He has talked about the need to reform the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to address how it handles detainees apprehended crossing the border illegally. He’s also voiced opposition to building a wall.

But Garcia maintains he supports efforts to improve security at the border and points to his service in the military as evidence that he understands the importance of the issue. He says political attacks that question his commitment to border security are a form of bigotry.

Gov. Ducey, for his part, has focused on his record in addressing border security. His administration has worked closely with Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels on several fronts, including a $1 million contribution to the construction of the Southeast Arizona Communications Center. The joint dispatch operation may eventually provide additional resources for both the state Department of Public Safety and the U.S. Border Patrol to communicate – and coordinate response – anywhere in the county.

Local 2544, which represents some 80 percent of the agents employed by the U.S. Border Patrol in the Tucson sector of District 12, was among the first to endorse Donald Trump when he was still seeking the Republican Party nomination in 2016. The union clearly prioritizes security when it considers which candidate it will endorse.

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said the decision to endorse Trump was made after he spoke directly with the candidate about issues of border security. In an interview on National Public Radio, Judd said Trump “was very receptive to those ideas of those individuals who know what it takes to secure the border.”

It’s clear the organization’s endorsement of Gov. Ducey is consistent with that history of prioritizing border security.

For Cochise County, identifying where the candidates stand on border security, and their willingness to do what’s necessary to accomplish it, is vital to assuring the safety of local communities. We stand with the Border Patrol union’s support of Gov. Ducey on this issue.

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