PHOENIX, AZ - Following in the footsteps of its Texas brethren, Arizona Republicans have proposed legislation called the “Arizona Invasion Act,” Senate Bill 1231, which would make it a state crime for illegal aliens to cross from Mexico into Arizona at locations other than designated ports of entry, according to AZ Mirror.
Under the proposed law, which would likely meet the veto pen of Gov. Katie Hobbs (D), law enforcement officials would be authorized to arrest people suspected of illegally entering the country, with a conviction being a class 1 misdemeanor carrying a jail sentence of up to six months. It would also authorize state judges to issue deportation orders.
Repeated crossings or charges involving narcotics could lead to more severe punishments. If the illegal alien agreed to return to Mexico voluntarily, a judge would drop the charges on a first offense.
The bill was proposed over a week ago and unveiled by Arizona Republicans at a news conference. They said the law was a way to resolve the crisis at the southern border that the federal government has refused to deal with. Texas has taken similar steps to deal with the crisis in their state. Gov. Greg Abbott is currently in a standoff with the federal government over the erection of razor wire barriers in the Rio Grande Valley.
According to statistics, the Tucson Sector, which covers 262 miles of Arizona’s border with Mexico, suffered the most encounters with illegal aliens over five months last year.
“Arizona is in a crisis,” Senate President Warren Petersen said at the news conference. “This is directly due to the negligent action of the Biden administration.”
A “bipartisan” bill claiming to be a “border bill” was unveiled earlier this week, but some Republican lawmakers in Washington have touted it as a “Ukraine aid bill” being sold as a “US border bill.” The proposal faces an uphill battle in the Senate since it would require a filibuster-proof 60 votes. Meanwhile, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) has called the measure “dead on arrival” in the lower chamber.
Meanwhile, Petersen said that since the federal government has abdicated its authority to halt the foreign invasion at the southern border, it is now up to local officials to protect the state’s residents from the criminal element that permeates many of the so-called “migrants.”
“These aren’t just innocent humans looking for a better life. These are human smugglers, child sex traffickers, rapists, murderers, terrorists, and dangerous criminals,” he said. “They’re bringing with them an enormous amount of drugs, especially fentanyl.”
While Democrats have painted the invaders as “migrants” or “refugees,” a vast majority of those entering the country have been military-aged males, many from countries such as China, Russia, Yemen, Somalia, Iran, and others that are avowed adversaries of the United States.
Last year, Kinney County (TX) Sheriff Brad Coe sounded the alarm about who was crossing the border, as reported in The Center Square.
“We’re experiencing a silent invasion of military-age men,” Coe told the outlet, describing what his deputies have been up against for over two years. Coe said most of those he witnessed crossing the border were military-aged men between 17 and 45. Many were wearing camouflage and backpacks, according to video surveillance viewed by The Center Square.
Coe described the influx of men as a “Trojan horse.”
“They set up in our cities, take over through voting and/or crime, and scare the local people who move out. It’s happening in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio,” he said. He continued, “You can win a lot of battles without getting violent,” a reference to the “silent invasion,” which he called an “act of war” by Mexican drug cartels against the United States.
Responding to criticism of the bill, Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes said the bill is designed to make it easier for police to do their jobs.
“This is about providing tools to local law enforcement to secure the southern border,” he said. He highlighted the bill intends to push illegals toward legitimate points of entry, adding that Republicans support legal immigration.
“We want people to immigrate legally,” Rhodes, whose wife was born in Mexico, said. “We love immigration. But we want it to be legal immigration. We want people to follow the laws.”
He also dismissed concerns expressed by open borders advocates that the law could lead to civil rights violations.
“If you’re out in the middle of the desert where there’s not a port of entry for miles and miles and miles, and you encounter people within a short distance of the border, reasonable people can assume that those people came across the border and not an official port of entry,” Rhodes said.
"If you are somewhere close to a port of entry like Nogales and you encounter people in the area–perhaps they did come across the port of entry, perhaps they came over the fence. You don’t really know, but you have to have probable cause before you can stop and detain them.”