The crisis at the southern Arizona border isn't letting up, and state lawmakers are pleading with President Joe Biden to do his job and tighten border security.
Earlier this week, Arizona experienced the largest drug bust of fentanyl in state history. Agents seized 1.7 million fentanyl pills in Metro Phoenix with a street value of approximately $9 million dollars.
According to law enforcement, they're confident these narcotics came into the Valley from the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico, by using trafficking routes through Arizona.
Had the seizure not taken place, these drugs would likely ended up in schools and neighborhoods across the state.
"It's a problem that really needs to be solved by the feds, and they don't seem to want to solve it effectively," said Senate Majority Leader Rick Gray (R-21).
In a recent interview with a Phoenix TV station, Majority Leader Gray and Senate President Karen Fann (R-1) called out President Biden for his absence on the border and for enabling criminals to easily enter our state.
"The federal government is breaking our own laws by allowing this to continue," said President Fann. "This isn't just a handful of people seeking asylum. This is open, flowing borders, and nobody is doing anything about it."
According to data released from Governor Doug Ducey's office, more than 1.7 million migrants were encountered at the southern border last fiscal year, which is more than the past two years combined.
He held a press conference earlier this month at the border to announce state help from the National Guard, the Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement.
"Literally, the Governor is doing a press conference, and there are illegal immigrants walking in behind him. That is ludicrous," said President Fann.
This crisis also means migrants are making the dangerous journey into the U.S., facing illness, violence and death. Unfortunately, humanitarian efforts at the border have become a decoy for cartels.
"We have a government that is now firing public safety officers, military personnel and imposing lockdowns because they're trying to force a vaccine mandate on us. Tax-paying American citizens who follow the laws under normal circumstances are the ones losing their jobs, being forced to be vaccinated, being forced out of the military, and that's a crying shame," said President Fann. "Yet, we're letting hundreds of thousands of people break the law, come into our country, and not only are we not making sure that they have safe backgrounds to know that they're not here to create another 9/11, not only are we not checking to make sure they don’t have COVID, but they're getting lost in the system. On top of that, while taxpayers are losing their jobs, illegal immigrants are getting government assistance because they don't have jobs. What is happening to our country? This is not America," said President Fann.
Meanwhile, as President Biden refuses to come up with strict plan, local law enforcement officers that should be protecting neighborhoods, have essentially been transformed into federal border patrol.
"It really comes down to leadership and having the right kind of leadership that has that power," said Majority Leader Gray. "That’s one of the frustrating things about being in the legislature. We have the authority to do certain things, but if we don't have the votes, then we don't have the power. So, solving a problem like the border, isn't something that we in the state legislature can just say 'we're going to take care of this.'"
Looking ahead to the 2022 legislative session, President Fann remains optimistic about being able to take action.
"I hope we get our colleagues together, bipartisan, because this is not a Republican issue, this is an American issue. I would like to see some of our monies used to enforce our borders," said President Fann.