PHOENIX — A day after Gov. Doug Ducey announced he was sending 250 National Guard troops to the border, Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly wrote to President Joe Biden asking the federal government to reimburse the state for the action.
The Arizona Democrats, who supported the Republican governor’s decision to dispatch more guards, also asked Biden to increase the number of Homeland Security personnel to help process migrants and secure the border.
Ducey issued a declaration of emergency, and his office said the state would provide up to $25 million in initial funding for the additional guards.
“There is a crisis at the southern border,” the senators’ letter said. “From recent conversations with local community leaders, law enforcement, and local Department of Homeland Security officials, it’s clear that their resources, staffing and capabilities are strained … This need for a secure and orderly process at the U.S. southern border should not fall on the state of Arizona or Arizona border communities.”
Over the past month, Sinema, Kelly, Ducey and local elected and community leaders throughout the state have called on the Department of Homeland Security for additional resources to help local communities and non-profit groups feeling the brunt of an increase in migrants being apprehended by the Border Patrol.
Ducey, who is presiding over the GOP’s efforts to elect Republican governors across the nation in 2022, has directly blamed Biden for the migrant surge. He has cited the president’s reversal of immigration policies previously implemented by former President Donald Trump.
Experts say the increase is the result of a mix of factors, including a bottleneck of asylum seekers mostly from Central America. The migrants have grown increasingly frustrated after being stuck in Mexico for more than a year waiting for hearings in U.S. immigration courts under policies implemented by Trump.
In their letter, Sinema and Kelly noted there are an estimated 500 National Guard troops already deployed to the Yuma and Tucson sectors.
“As such, we request you reimburse the state of Arizona for the deployment the Governor announced yesterday to support border security and continue to increase DHS personnel who can further assist with the processing of migrants, securing the border, and executing important security missions,” their letter said.
Both are centrist Democrats who won races in a politically divided Arizona in part by acknowledging long-standing challenges at the border and tacking to the right instead of the left to appeal to moderate voters on both sides of the aisle.
The governor’s office has said the deployment of the 250 troops will travel to border communities and will be available to help other law enforcement agencies, help with medical operations in detention facilities, install and maintain border cameras, monitor and collect date from public safety cameras and analyze satellite imagery for trends in smuggling corridors.
Republic reporter Daniel Gonzalez contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Sinema, Kelly want feds to pay for National Guard at Arizona border