Arizona Border Strike Task Force Picks Up Federal Responsibilities
Arizona’s border strike task force, which was created in an attempt to secure the state’s border region, is proving effective after just one year at play. Arizona officials created the task force because of mounting public safety concerns resulting from inadequate federal efforts to curb illegal immigration and drug trafficking entering through the state’s border with Mexico.In the past year, Arizona’s border strike task force seized 18,735 pounds of marijuana, 120 pounds of heroin and 802 pounds of methamphetamine. While proving successful, Arizona taxpayers are being forced to front the bill on duties generally assumed of the federal government. The border strike task force cost the state over $26.6 million dollars this year, with $10 million needed for on-going funding.“This initiative brings to the table a combined cooperative effort of law enforcement on both sides of the border to go after heroin and methamphetamine drug traffickers with a long term goal of making all our communities safer,” said Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Col. Frank Milstead. “It’s providing a force multiplier in the fight against drug cartels and border crime. This same cooperative effort includes working with public safety officials in the State of Sonora, Mexico just south of Arizona,” added a spokesperson from DPS.Arizona is not the only border state forced to spend state taxpayer resources in efforts to secure its international border against drug and border-related crime. The Obama Administration’s proactive dismantling of immigration enforcement nationwide has forced many states to take action to discourage border-related crime in their regions. Notably, Texas Governor Greg Abbott authorized the Texas Department of Public Safety to continue increasing its operations patrolling its southern border last year. Additionally, the Texas General Assembly voted in its most recent legislative session to allocate $800 million in border security-related spending.