Friday, July 8, 2011

Flashback--Napolitano: AZ Sheriffs Need Help Because 'Border Is Lacking Operational Control'

( – Six years ago next month, then-Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano (D) declared a state of emergency because of the crime along the Arizona-Mexico border, adding that the emergency assistance would help her to work with state sheriffs in fighting border crime. She stressed that the federal government had “failed to secure our border.”
In neighboring New Mexico, then-Gov. Bill Richardson (D) also declared a state of emergency and received federal funds to help combat the crime along his state’s border with Mexico.

In a PBS Newshour story by Gwen Ifill on Aug. 18, 2005, Ifill reported, “Napolitano said she was forced to step in where the federal government would not.”

Then Napolitano said, “Because we are really targeting the crime that facilitates illegal immigration -- automobile theft, identity theft, human trafficking -- we want to work with the sheriffs, the county attorneys, assist them, you know, help with overtime, help with cleanup expenses, all the other sorts of things that are associated with the fact that this border is lacking operational control.”

Homeland Security Secreatary Janet Napolitano, the former Demcoratic governor of Arizona. ( Starr)

In an Aug. 16 article in the Phoenix Business Journal, Napolitano – who is now tasked with enforcing federal immigration law on U.S. borders and across the country as the Secretary of Homeland Security -- said the federal government forced the emergency declaration.

“The federal government has failed to secure our border, and the health and safety of all Arizonans is threatened daily by violent gangs, coyotes and other dangerous criminals,” Napolitano said. “These funds provide our law enforcement community with another valuable tool to fight crime related to illegal immigration.”

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, a critic of the Obama administration’s border and immigration policy, said Napolitano seems to have forgotten the ongoing battle against illegal immigration in her home state.

“All these things that she said when she was the governor – she goes to Washington and she completely turns her back on a state where she used to live,” Babeu said. “How quickly she forgot us.”

“It’s the height of hypocrisy that the very statements that she made in 2005 and the statements that I’ve made – she and all her buddies in Washington have attacked me and other sheriffs who are protecting our families out here for the same statements,” Babeu said.
mexico border and usa

On Thursday, Napolitano was in Nogales, Arizona to announce the Obama administration’s 2011 National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy.

The strategy was touted by Napolitano and Obama’s drug czar Gil Kerlikowske as “a key component of the Obama administration’s unprecedented efforts to enhance security along the southwest border.”

“Disrupting the follow of illegal drugs across our borders is critical to our nation’s safety and security,” Napolitano said.

As Homeland Security Secretary under President Obama, however, Napolitano has criticized people like Babeu who make the same claims she did when she was the governor of Arizona.

In a speech she gave on Jan. 31, 2011 at the University of Texas, El Paso on border security, Napolitano said that claims about the border being crime ridden are "just plain wrong."

"Nonetheless, it is inaccurate to state, as too many have, that the border is overrun with violence and out of control," Napolitano said. "This statement—often made only to score political points—is just plain wrong."
"Not only does it ignore all of the statistical evidence, it also belittles the significant progress that effective law enforcement has made to protect this border and the people who live alongside it," Napolitano said.


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