As of last week, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has reportedly pulled agents away from five legal ports of entry on the southern border to assist Border Patrol efforts to stem the tide of illegal immigration. The Center Square reporter Cameron Arcand detailed the move in a Twitter thread:
?Buckle in, folks. Here’s a big border story you probably aren’t hearing about with major national security implications.
Last week, CBP ordered some of their staff to go from working legal ports of entry in Arizona to support Border Patrol efforts. 1/
— Cameron Arcand (@cameron_arcand) September 23, 2023
This comes at a time when the situation at the border is under considerable scrutiny. Democrat presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has lambasted the Biden Administration over the issue. Border state governors are increasingly taking matters into their own hands, while the White House is evasive about the state of the border.
Gov. Katie Hobbs announced the decision Friday to help the border community buy “communications technology” to bolster its border efforts following changes in the federal port of entry policies.
“Time and again I’ve asked the Biden administration for assistance at the border, but instead they have chosen to redirect resources to speed the release of migrants without the support and coordination our local communities deserve,” Hobbs said in a news release.
“Arizona is being overwhelmed, and we can’t afford to lose manpower at our ports of entry. I’m glad to deliver border security resources to our communities, but the federal government needs to do its job and take action to ensure our border is secure and the migration process is orderly and humane,” she added.
Further, local officials are concerned about the possibility of terrorists crossing the open southern border:
Jaime Chamberlain, chairman of the Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority, wrote in a letter on Sept. 15 to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that the lower-than-needed presence at certain posts from federal authorities is a national security risk.
Chamberlain wrote to Mayorkas:
Mr. Secretary, we request the immediate repeal of this directive and return Customs personnel to the posts where they are most effective – the ports of entry. We don’t want another 9/11 tragedy to occur because our ports are vulnerable and weak with low staffing numbers because of this directive to help Border Patrol. Washington and DHS are doing a disservice to both organizations by not properly staffing or funding them to the best our [sic] abilities.
As of this writing, the Biden Administration has not commented on the Arizona state government’s actions on the issue, which comes at a time when agricultural product imports and exports are increasing as the harvest season begins.
The shift of personnel will increase wait times for legal border crossers and will likely reduce scrutiny paid to people crossing at the legal ports of entry. The move and the flow of illegal immigrants driving it could have great influence in Arizona’s upcoming elections, as well as the 2024 presidential election; Not only has immigration has been identified as a key issue in the 2024 U.S. presidential election, but with Arizona being on the front line of the immigration crisis, it’s also become a key swing state in the Electoral College.