By: Cameron Arcand | The Center Square contributor
Gov. Katie Hobbs, Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls, and border law enforcement officials are preparing at the state and local levels for the end of Title 42 on Thursday.
The end of the pandemic era order is already leading to an increase in migrants at an already porous southern border, which is leaving many officials concerned about both the safety and security of the situation.
Hobbs referred to Title 42 as a “temporary solution” to a larger issue.
“I’m afraid these challenges will only get worse,” Hobbs said regarding the end of the order, saying that she’s worried the federal government is “unprepared.”
The governor announced a five-point approach to tackle the issue: public safety, partnership, transportation, executive action, and shelter. When pushed by reporters, Hobbs said that transportation and sheltering are the current main focus.
One of the bullet points listed in the governor’s plan said her office would “coordinate interstate(between multiple states) transportation.”
“We will activate state resources as needed,” Hobbs said and mentioned that the Arizona National Guard could be deployed to the border to assist, but she would not delve into specific details.
Later on, she referred to the situation as “fluid,” which is being used as a justification for executive action to be on the table once it ends as opposed to making an order beforehand.
Last week, President Joe Biden ordered 1,500 troops to be sent down to the border to mitigate the surge, The Center Square reported.
“As of today, we have not received an adequate response,” Hobbs said of her messages to President Joe Biden and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on the crisis.
“It’s incredibly frustrating,” Hobbs said at one point in terms of the federal government’s response, or lack thereof.
Hobbs’ announcement comes as other states ready themselves for a new surge of migrants empowered by the end of the COVID-19 emergency rule that allowed border patrol agents to turn immigrants away at the border. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday he is deploying a tactical border force.
On the local side, Nicholls expressed support for the state government, particularly on the transportation front, and said he’s displeased with how the Biden administration has been handling the crisis.
“This is a national issue, and the federal government has failed to make good on this national issue,” Nicholls said.
Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes, head of the Arizona Sheriffs Association, told The Center Square that the governor needs to support the Ducey-era Border Strike Force to help local law enforcement in the coming week.
“That money needs to be restored and increased,” Rhodes said regarding the governor’s budget proposal to cut funding for the force. In addition, he asked the federal and state governments to communicate more clearly with sheriffs about where people are being transported.
“We have to be able to respond quickly to public safety matters,” he said.