by Jim Nintzel
Congressman Raul Grijalva and state Sen. Sylvia Allen are battling over the creation of a volunteer militia to guard the border.
Grijalva calls the idea "not just silly and irresponsible, it’s a public safety threat. To arm individuals, provide paper-thin weapons training and deliberately place them in danger disrespects the taxpayers of our great state and cheapens the professionalism of our border security agents.”
Allen responds: "'Open borders' Grijalva can spin his opposition any way he likes, but Arizonans know that we have a huge problem here with drug cartels, allied with terrorists, smuggling drugs and terrorizing the inhabitants of this state."
You can almost see the finger wagging in the face, can't you?
Here's Grijalva's full press release:
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today condemned the Arizona Senate Appropriations Committee passage of Senate Bill 1083, which would create and fund an armed militia along the Arizona-Mexico border. Under the control of the governor, the armed militia would supplement law enforcement and be able to pursue, arrest and detain individuals.
In approving the language yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee budgeted $1.4 million for a 300-person militia.
“This legislation is not just silly and irresponsible, it’s a public safety threat,” Grijalva said. “To arm individuals, provide paper-thin weapons training and deliberately place them in danger disrespects the taxpayers of our great state and cheapens the professionalism of our border security agents.”
Rep. Grijalva was an original co-sponsor in the 111th Congress of H.R. 6080, which became law and increased salary and law enforcement funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement staff and Customs and Border Protection officials.
At a Feb. 10 field hearing Grijalva hosted in Nogales alongside Reps. Luis Gutierrez, Michael Honda and Silvestre Reyes, Santa Cruz Sheriff Tony Estrada testified that his county “enjoy[s] a lifestyle that is almost free from violent crime,” partly because it has “the highest ratio of law enforcement personnel to residents in the country [and] there are about 1,000 Border Patrol agents serving in Santa Cruz County — more than ten times the number from just three decades ago.”
At the same hearing, Estrada — who has more than four decades of law enforcement experience — said, “Regardless of the rhetoric that we hear, it is not raining bullets here in Nogales and Santa Cruz County.”
In questioning the need for a taxpayer-funded armed militia, Grijalva called on the legislature to “focus on real problems and solutions instead of using a fictitious version of border politics to win elections.”
In fiscal year 2011, U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions — a key indicator of illegal immigration — decreased to 340,252, down 53 percent since FY 2008 and one fifth of their peak in FY 2000. Since 2004, the size of the Border Patrol has doubled to 21,444. There are currently more than 5,000 Border Patrol agents in Arizona.
Analysis of the FBI Uniform Crime Reports found that rates of violent crime along the U.S.-Mexico border have been falling for years — even before the U.S. security buildup that has included thousands of law enforcement officers and expansion of a massive fence along the border.
Arizona and Mexico share 361 miles of border. Currently, more than 3,800 Border Patrol Agents are working in the Tucson and Yuma Sector.
For Sheriff Estrada’s border hearing testimony, visit http://1.usa.gov/wWnjSm. For testimony from border economic consultant Terry Shannon, visit http://1.usa.gov/ytEsWJ. For testimony from safe border activist Gary Brasher, visit http://1.usa.gov/xrS5XE.
Here's Allen's response:
Since when has Mr. Grijalva EVER been concerned about protecting our borders? He has fought every effort ever made by this Legislature to stem the flow. In fact, he is proposing to add more wilderness areas along the border to make it even easier for the cartels, since local law enforcement officials cannot enforce the law on federal land. Calling the training of the members of the Special Missions Unit “paper-thin” is an insult to every member of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Special Missions Unit will consist mostly of highly trained former law enforcement and military personnel. They will come into the Special Missions Unit highly trained, and the Unit will add further training on top of that. Congressman Grijalva and the Federal Government would prefer to send out Border Patrol officers without guns and call that ‘protection’. I don’t call that border security — I call it insanity. “Open borders” Grijalva can spin his opposition any way he likes, but Arizonans know that we have a huge problem here with drug cartels, allied with terrorists, smuggling drugs and terrorizing the inhabitants of this state.