Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Wed, Feb. 24

Focusing on the AZ border

Governor Janet Napolitano

Governor Janet Napolitano

Immigration reform has long been on the minds of Arizonans, but this week, the issue was in the national spotlight as well. On Monday, President Bush visited Tucson to speak about illegal immigration and border security. I'm pleased that the President decided to visit our state, and I hope his trip served as a reminder of just how serious the border situation has become in Arizona. Our state needs meaningful immigration reform. That reform needs to come at the federal level, and it needs to come now.

I am in favor of creating an effective guest worker program that gives priority to workers from the United States. Such policy would make a tremendous impact in Arizona. In recent months, I have been working with agricultural communities around the state and with Customs and Border Patrol to facilitate a smooth harvest season for the winter vegetables grown in southern Arizona. A national guest worker program would further improve this process, giving growers the documented workers they need and allowing guest workers to legally hold jobs in Arizona border communities.

Additionally, in order to regain true control of the United States/Mexico border, the federal government must increase its law-enforcement manpower and enhance its border security technology to prevent more undocumented immigrants from entering this country. There are millions of undocumented individuals already residing here, and the federal government must find realistic ways to address them as well.

I understand this issue is a complex one and the stakes are high, but it is the federal government's Constitutional responsibility to find solutions. Arizonans deserve a safe border and a secure state. And they deserve to be repaid the hundreds of millions of dollars they've already spent to incarcerate undocumented individuals in state correctional facilities.

As the Arizona Congressional Delegation and I push for action on the national level, I will continue to take initiative and find innovative ways to combat crimes associated with illegal immigration.

As part of my Strong Border, Secure Arizona initiative, I have been working closely with Sonora, Mexico's Governor, Eduardo Bours. Governor Bours and I have agreed to make Arizona/Sonora the safest region of border between the United States and Mexico. Our law enforcement agencies are already sharing intelligence and technology, and tomorrow I will join Governor Bours and other Mexican officials at the winter plenary session of the Arizona Mexico Commission and its sister organization in Mexico, Comision Sonora Arizona in San Carlos. There, I will receive updates on the progress of Arizona's border security measures and make plans to strengthen our state's partnership with Mexico.

I appreciate the support of the Arizonans, law enforcement officials, and local governments on Arizona's border. And I encourage all Arizonans to learn more about Strong Border, Secure Arizona by reading the details on my website:

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