On Thursday, Arizona lawmakers and law enforcement experts held a press conference to bring attention to the public health crisis in Arizona they say is due to open borders and the resulting importation of crime, illegal narcotics, human smuggling, and sex trafficking.
Speaker of the House Ben Toma and Sen. President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope, Rep. Steve Montenegro, Chairman of the House Health & Human Services Committee, Sen. David Gowan, Chairman of the Senate Military Affairs, Public Safety & Border Security Committee and other lawmakers joined former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan to call for real border security.
“Arizona is experiencing a public health & public safety crisis because of our open border with Mexico,” explained Montenegro. “Governor Hobbs says she agrees that this is a crisis, but her actions in gutting border-related funding to law enforcement says otherwise.”
“We need to take swift action to deal with what is happening to combat it,” said Montenegro.
In December, the Arizona Daily Independent reported on a study by a healthcare organization which found that illicit fentanyl positivity in Arizona increased by 261% in patient samples from substance use disorder treatment practices tested during the first half of 2022 compared to 2019.
A dramatic increase in drug overdose deaths is being reported across the U.S. According to the CDC, Arizona overdose deaths increased over 43% between 2019 and 2021 compared to a 51% increase nationwide. 1 Contributing to these deaths is the unsuspected presence of illicit fentanyl in counterfeit pills and other substances, such as cocaine.
The porous southern border has made Arizona a prime corridor for both human and drug smugglers. While former Arizona Governor Doug Ducey made some attempts to stem the smuggling traffic, newly-elected Governor Katie Hobbs not only dismantled his effort, but vowed to accommodate illegal migrants by transporting them at taxpayer expense on commercial flights to their desired destination.
A Health & Public Safety Crisis…
Americans killed in #Fentanyl related deaths equal to nearly two 9-11’s per mo.
Fentanyl now leading cause of death for U.S. adults 18-45.
Fentanyl responsible for around 70% of all drug related deaths in the country.@AZHouseGOP @AZSenateGOP pic.twitter.com/StNrWllrfX
— Steve Montenegro (@SteveMontenegro) January 26, 2023