With his wholehearted support of President Trump’s emergency declaration to build walls along the U.S.-Mexico border, Arizona’s governor is making a mockery of the U.S. Constitution and throwing Arizonans under the bus for political gain.
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey started the year by pledging bipartisanship, but he wasted no time making the purely political decision to endorse Trump’s illegal power grab. In so doing, he ignored thousands of Arizonans and dozens of elected officials who don’t want the state’s southern border turned into a military zone.
Ducey is ignoring government data and scientific research that should drive sound policymaking in favor of political expediency. This is the opposite of leadership.
U.S. Border Patrol data show that migrant apprehensions in the Tucson sector, which covers most of Arizona, are a fraction of what they were in 2000. But rather than acknowledge the facts, Ducey marches in lockstep with Trump and spews hysterics about a nonexistent emergency.
Trump’s heartless crusade to deny asylum to migrants, militarize our communities and plow a destructive wall through some of the most beautiful, biodiverse land in the country is something Ducey should be ashamed of, not embrace.
Those of us who live along the border are already subjected to intrusive warrantless searches, racial profiling and persistent disturbances from the Border Patrol.
Check out downtown Nogales for the most recent example.
To the dismay of shop owners, residents and elected officials, soldiers strung miles of combat-style concertina wire along border barriers near homes, schools and businesses. The razor wire — an instrument of war designed to maim and kill enemy combatants — endangers children, first responders and wildlife.
The cities of Nogales, Tucson and Bisbee unanimously passed resolutions demanding that the military remove the concertina wire, calling it “abhorrent” and “repulsive.” So what was Ducey’s response to Southern Arizona’s plea for humane, sensible leadership?
He’s ignoring local elected officials and keeping the National Guard deployed along the Arizona border while the governors of neighboring states pull their troops. And after a recent meeting with Trump, Ducey told reporters he’d support the president if he moved to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border.
The governor’s dangerous border policies and inflammatory rhetoric are also an affront to the Tohono O’odham Nation, whose ancestral land straddles the U.S.-Mexico border and would be ripped in two by more walls.
Arizona’s spectacular public lands and wildlife also pay the price for border militarization. The incredible animals found in our border region — including endangered species like the jaguar, ocelot and Sonoran pronghorn — are terrorized by constant off-road patrols, floodlights and 300 miles of border barriers that have destroyed sensitive ecosystems.
Nearly 3,000 scientists agree on the grave and lasting damage border barriers inflict on the natural world. In an article for Bioscience, the authors say key concerns include habitat destruction, the loss of scientific research and the fact that dozens of bedrock environmental laws were ignored to speed construction, including the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.
Just weeks ago wildlife experts released the first video footage ever recorded of an endangered ocelot in Arizona. These stunning cats are on the brink of a historic comeback, but a border wall would doom any chances of recovery.
Instead of fighting to protect our beautiful state and the people he represents, Ducey has aligned himself with an authoritarian president whose distorted vision of Arizona couldn’t be further from the truth.
Trump has abused his executive authority by reallocating money in a non-emergency situation to achieve a policy goal. Ducey is betraying Arizonans by supporting Trump’s shredding of the U.S. Constitution to build border walls that Congress wouldn’t pay for.
He’s towing the party line and stoking fear to drive Republicans to the polls.
It’s time for the governor to show real leadership and stop putting his own political future ahead of Arizona’s best interests.