PHOENIX - In his first campaign spot of the primary season, gubernatorial candidate, Doug Ducey took on the border crisis.
“Transportation of thousands of illegal immigrants from Texas to Arizona is inhumane and unacceptable,” Ducey said in the ad.
The numbers here add up.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirms that thousands of people have been brought to our state from Texas.
As for the “inhumane” part, CBP doesn’t see eye to eye with the would-be Governor. A spokesman told the ABC15 Investigators the agency is committed to preserving the human rights and dignity of the people it serves.
Ducey says in the ad, “our southern border remains wide open and unprotected.”
This claim is open to interpretation. But, according to CBP, in the first eight months of this fiscal year, 70,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended near the Arizona border.
It’s a big number, but it’s 25 percent less than the same time period the year before.
“As Governor, I'll fight back with every resource at my command: fencing, satellites, guardsmen, more police and prosecutors,” Ducey said in the ad. “We'll get this done.”
The Department of Homeland Security told ABC15 that 306 of the 388 miles of border between Arizona and Mexico already have some type of pedestrian or vehicle fencing.
And Border Patrol statistics show that there were more than 5,000 agents working along our border in the 2013 fiscal year.
We asked the Ducey campaign about specific plans to shore up the border. A spokesman told us, once elected Governor, Mr. Ducey would work with others to iron out the specifics.
But, for now, he’s leaving as many options on the table as possible.
So, how does he suggest paying for it all? One idea he’s suggested is privatizing the lottery, a plan his campaign said would generate an additional $20 to $40 million a year.
Here is our complete Q&A with the Ducey campaign:
1. What is the plan for building the fence?
On fencing, Doug is looking to figure out where it's most needed, what the costs will be, and then to fund it (see #5). He is also looking at additional virtual fencing and other new technologies to monitor activity along the border.
2. What satellites would Mr. Ducey have at his disposal to help protect the border as Governor of Arizona?
Doug has suggested using existing satellite technology in creative new solutions. He doesn’t want to be the governor that says we CAN’T, he will be the governor who thinks big and takes a CAN-DO approach to solving problems. There are new, innovative technologies being commercialized every day, and we have to be willing to explore the available options and try new things. Saying “no” is not good enough.
3. How many more guardsmen would he send to the border?
Given the current situation of thousands of migrant children crossing the border -- and hundreds being shipped to Arizona -- Doug’s plan would be to enlist the National Guard to these facilities to help manage them so Border Patrol agents can get back to their posts. As for guardsmen, he’s not going to use arbitrary numbers for political gain. Once he’s governor, he’ll sit down with the adjutant general to discuss exactly how many troops are needed based on his professional opinion.
He’d adjust the number of troops depending on the ever-changing situation with Border Patrol and the number of migrants.
4. How many police and prosecutors would he add? And how exactly would more police and prosecutors help at the border?
The federal government's primary job is to protect its citizens, but the federal government is failing Arizona in this area -- and many others. The purpose of police and prosecutors is to address crime within the state and deter future traffickers and drug smugglers from entering the state. Doug’s message to criminals is that they are not welcome in Arizona, and more police and prosecutors targeted at drug cartels and human traffickers will help deliver that message.
To do this, he will work with the Department of Public Safety and counties to focus on the issue of public safety in border regions and elsewhere across the state, and take their guidance on the exact number of additional officers and prosecutors needed.
5. Finally, how would Mr. Ducey pay for these changes as Governor? Where would the money come from?
Doug is going to work with DPS and its current budget to enhance their efforts and potentially expand the use of RICO funds and increased assessments for convicted felons to support DPS and counties. He is also looking at privatizing the lottery, which could conservatively generate an additional $20-$40 million per year.
Watch Doug Ducey's "Get This Done" ad below: