FACT CHECK: The ABC15 Investigators put the first Christine Jones ad to the test

Posted at 6:35 PM, Jul 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-27 20:08:50-04

Christine Jones’ commercial ad for governor focuses on immigration and the border.

"Illegal immigration costs Arizona taxpayers $2.8 billion every single year. When I am governor, that will change,” said Jones in the ad.

Opposing voices say the immigrant population brings in more than that amount in revenue. A University of Arizona study backs that argument.

We asked the Jones campaign how they came up with the $2.8 billion number. They told us it comes from FAIR, Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Critics are quick to point out the group is anything but unbiased and is actually listed as a hate group with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

"I'll deploy 1,200 troops to the border," said Jones in the ad.

Jones means National Guardsmen. State governors have no authority over regular U.S. military troops.

The governor can activate members of the National Guard for natural disasters. But, if she wants to deploy them full-time for defense, according to regulations, she needs approval from the federal government.

Her campaign told us the deployment will cost $120 million and that Arizona will pay the cost initially. Then Jones would "demand" to be reimbursed by the federal government.

“…use technology to monitor who is coming and going,” Jones said in the ad.

Surveillance is one of the only things the National Guard could do on the border.

A National Guard representative told us, in the past, they've served mainly in administrative and surveillance roles, freeing-up border patrol agents to take care of apprehensions and enforcement.

“...finish the fence,” said Jones in the ad.

Part of the reason the fence is not complete is because the border includes tribal land. She would have no authority to build on that land.

“...and send Obama the bill,” said Jones in the ad.

Jones is welcome to try and send President Obama a bill, but it didn't work in the past.

Governor Brewer counter-sued the U.S. government for reimbursement of illegal immigration costs under SB 1070.  

But, that case got thrown out of court.

“Laws will be enforced: no priority, no amnesty, and no more excuses,” said Jones in the ad.

The bottom line is immigration laws are federal, not state. So, regardless of who is elected, the governor would not have any authority over federal immigration laws.

See Jones' full immigration plan on her website.

Below are the questions and answers provided by her communications director:

1. Question: Jones says in the said, "Illegal immigration costs Arizona taxpayers $2.8 billion every single year." How did you come up with the $2.8 billion? Please provide a detailed breakdown.   

(The Jones campaign provided this link: Cost of Illegal Immigration Rising Rapidly in Arizona, Study Finds)

Answer: "FAIR's new breakdown shows that illegal immigrants take $1.6 billion from Arizona's education system, $694.8 million from health care services, $339.7 million in law enforcement and court costs, $85.5 million in welfare costs and $155.4 million in other general costs."

That adds up to $2.8 billion.

2. Question: In the ad, Jones says she will send troops to the border. Do you mean national guardsmen? What role will they take there? How much will that cost and who will pay the cost?

Answer: 1,200 Arizona National Guard soldiers

The cost of the troops will be $120 million. As Christine says in her plan, “under The Jones Plan for Border Security, the state will initially fund the military deployment and tactical response training to ensure the immediate relief and safety of all Arizonans. But then I will demand reimbursement from the Federal Government.”

The troops will be deployed as a deterrent in highly visible locations and well-established smuggling routes. They will assist law enforcement units with real time intelligence for rapid response using intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). This approach (of personnel increase) has already proven successful in Yuma.

3. Question: In the ad Jone says, “Laws will be enforced: no priority, no amnesty, and no more excuses” What do you mean by priority? How will she enforce amnesty?

Answer: We have an established path for citizenship. If immigrants want to follow that path, we welcome them with open arms. If someone does come to Arizona illegally, they are breaking the law and will have to pay the consequences. No one who is here illegally should be given amnesty or priority. There can be no reward for what is a criminal act.

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