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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Terry Goddard On Protecting Our Borders


We in Arizona have a serious crisis on our southern border. Many are frustrated, including me, that our border remains porous, disrespected, and easily penetrated by organized criminals smuggling drugs, humans and guns. Most Arizonans think that the recently passed bill, SB1070, will at least help fight border crime. The tragedy is, it won't.

Gov. Brewer has said that the law "doesn't have anything to do with border security."

The Arizona Republic recently wrote that Gov. Brewer was looking out for her "political future" and not Arizona's best interests, and it's hard not to agree.

As Attorney General, I have worked for years to attack the cartels where it hurts them most — in their pocketbook. I recently forged an historic agreement with Western Union that provides $94 million for border security. This unprecedented agreement not only steers tens of millions of dollars to the law enforcement agencies that police the border, but it also allows us to "follow the money" by giving investigators access to wire transfer data to track the cartels.

As a follow-up to this settlement, I've also created the Southwest Border Alliance, so all along the 2,000-mile border, sheriffs, police and border patrol agents can start working as a team to stop human and drug smuggling.

My plan is to improve border security through tougher federal laws against illegal crossing; more resources for law enforcement; better coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement; and a focus on the most serious threat, the smuggling cartels. I have asked the President to push to make it a felony to cross our border illegally, as an integral part of border reform.

The federal government needs to step up. In addition to stronger laws against illegal crossing, we must reduce the demand for illegal labor by matching work visas with employment needs, and through meaningful federal employer sanctions so that Arizona employers are not at a disadvantage. The time is now for Congress to put aside partisan politics and act.

Here in Arizona, we need to do the same thing. Instead of playing games to score political points, we need to work together to find ways to make Arizona work again. As Governor, that's just what I'll do.

Thank you for all that you do


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