PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey is blaming the border crisis on federal laws he says are providing incentives for people to seek asylum.
The Republican governor said people who try to get across the border often are “coached by individuals to say things that allow them to come in the country.”
Those laws need to be changed, Ducey said.
“The system is at a breaking point,” he said. “That’s why there’s a crisis. That’s why you see the pictures” of crowds of people at the border.
Ducey’s comments Tuesday came on the heels of the apparently forced resignation of Kirstjen Nielsen as head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. That move followed President Trump’s decision to withdraw the nomination of Ronald D. Vitiello to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement, saying his administration is “going in a tougher direction” in dealing with illegal immigration and specifically the flood of people presenting themselves at the border to seek asylum.
“I’ve said that I don’t want to see families separated,” Ducey said. “But I also want to see Congress act.
“We actually have laws that I believe are incenting the crisis that’s happening on the border. We should be more direct as to what the situation is.”
The governor said the country has an opportunity to reform the immigration system. Asked it that means requiring asylum seekers to remain in their home country, Ducey responded: “That wouldn’t be my solution.” He said there are other solutions, though he provided no specifics.
“People that are in need of asylum and go through the process are finding the protection of it that is intended,” Ducey said. “But others are using the law to their advantage, and not in good faith.”
Ducey said there also needs to be a recognition that not everyone gathered at the border is seeking asylum.
“We also have human trafficking and drug cartels,” the governor said. “Separating out the good actors from the bad actors is the very difficult duty of ICE and the Customs and Border Patrol.”