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Before Arizona Gov. Hobbs deployed National Guard, she neutered border security measures

Having it both ways? As more and more local politicians call for aid to help with the increasing cost of illegal immigrant influx, Hobb's new hawkish rhetoric conflicts with her own immigration record and past statements on the matter, contradicting a more permissive campaign theme that aligned with the "open borders" approach.

Published: December 18, 2023 11:36pm

Arizona Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs on Friday deployed the National Guard to the southern border amid the unprecedented surge in illegal immigrant arrivals under the Biden administration.

She further pleaded with Washington to send further aid, admonishing the Biden administration for not responding to her request for $512 million to reimburse the state for border security expenses it had already incurred.

"Yet again, the federal government is refusing to do its job to secure our border and keep our communities safe," she said. "With this Executive Order, I am taking action where the federal government won’t... "Despite continued requests for assistance, the Biden administration has refused to deliver desperately needed resources to Arizona’s border."

Despite the hawkish rhetoric, however, Hobbs's own immigration record and past statements on the matter reflect a more permissive attitude that aligns somewhat with the administration.

Hobbs called a temporary border wall a "political stunt" and sold off the shipping containers

While running for governor, Hobbs slammed then-GOP Gov. Doug Ducey's move to use shipping containers as a temporary border wall to plug gaps in the Yuma sector of the frontier.

"It's a political stunt. It's a visual barrier that is not actually providing an effective barrier to entry, and I think a waste of taxpayer dollars," she said, according to KJZZ. This echoed the White House's position, who has as  recently as January of this year said the practice was a "shameful" political maneuver. Arizona set aside $15 million in its budget this year to pay for transporting migrants, and the busing program was estimated to cost $1 million per month, according to The Arizona Republic.

Ducey later reached an agreement with the Biden administration to remove the barrier so that the federal government could erect a permanent one. Hobbs, for her part, announced plans this year to auction off the containers.

She praised Biden's immigration policy earlier this year

In January, upon taking office, Hobbs celebrated the Biden's administration's approach to border security, saying "I am encouraged by the White House’s recent actions to finally visit the border and to start proposing real steps to begin addressing the problems of the current system."

"And while optimistic, I will also continue to push Congress to do its job and pass comprehensive immigration reform," she continued, according to the Associated Press.

Her speech came amid President Joe Biden's visit to the southern border, a trip that conservatives criticized as a public relations stunt amid reports that border officials had swept away migrant camps near El Paso, Texas, to present a more organized backdrop to his official visit.

The governor vetoed a measure to ban providing aid to human smuggling efforts

The governor in June vetoed legislation brought by Tucson GOP state Sen. Justine Wadsack that would have made it a Class 2 felony to use an electronic device to conceal an individual from a peace officer or aid in their flight, according to Tucson.com.

"This bill is yet another attempt by the majority to criminalize organizations and individuals who aim to support immigrants and refugees," Hobbs said. "I implore the majority party to work with stakeholders to provide real solutions for our border communities."

Wadsack's initial plan would have made it a Class 2 felony to use most electronic devices to aid in human smuggling and was substantially amended by the time it reached Hobbs's desk. She vetoed it, nonetheless.

She proposed $40 million for a scholarship to benefit DACA recipients

Hobbs in January unveiled her executive budget, which included $40 million to create a tuition scholarship program for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) eligible students. The proposal earned praise from pro-immigrant organizations, including from the DACA advocacy group Aliento.

"This is a great first step for Gov. Hobbs’ support for all students, including our Dreamers," said CEO Reyna Montoya at the time. "We’re excited for how this could impact the 2,000 Dreamers who graduate from high schools every year."

"This could potentially put Arizona on the right track to make education more accessible and equitable. We will continue to work for those students and look forward to Hobbs’ following through with this proposal," Montoya continued. The program did not make it into the final budget, according to the Arizona Mirror.

Hobbs defunded a state border enforcement team

In March of this year, Hobbs announced plans to defund a border security organization run by the state designed to combat international criminal activity. The Border Strike Force was a supplementary law enforcement group that mostly focused on drug cartels.

The fiscal year 2024 budget summary declared that "[t]he Border Strike Force is an initiative that does not appear to have accomplished its intended purpose" and eliminated an ongoing special line item associated with the agency amounting to $17.1 million.  The budget further reallocated a second line item of $12.2 million that had been assigned to the Border Strike Task Force Local Support and sent it to a new Local Border Support line item "to provide grants to law enforcement in border communities to conduct border-related activities."

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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