Lawmakers Furious at Governor Katie Hobbs for Cutting Border Strike Force with Crime Surging on the Border

Democratic Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs announced shortly after entering office in January that she would eliminate the Border Strike Force (BSF) that former Governor Doug Ducey created in 2015, sparking outrage from Republican lawmakers concerned about rising crime and violence related to Arizona’s porous border with Mexico. Hobbs said as part of her budget, she would reroute the funding for the BSF elsewhere.

“In the same manner that Joe Biden has destroyed our country with his welcomed support for the prolonged lawlessness and drug crisis along our southern border, Katie Hobbs is destroying Arizona in three short months since taking office by her reckless dismantling of the Border Strike Task Force,” Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ-09) told Fox News. “Countless more people will die from Hobbs’ open border policies.”

State Representative John Gilette (R-Kingman) tweeted, which was retweeted by Arizona House Republicans, “I think we understand! You de-funded the Border Strike Force, and rolled out the red carpet to cartels when you VETO the great Republican border Bills and remove the connex barriers.” Several sheriffs have spoken out against the defunding.

The BSF “provides a comprehensive collaborative approach to help secure Arizona’s border and thwart transnational criminal organizations” and also “targets border crimes” according to its webpage on the Arizona Department of Public Safety website. “The ultimate goal in the creation of the Border Strike Force is to deter, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations that breach the border in their quest to set up business in our state.”

BSF listed three major accomplishments in 2016: “Operation Sidewinder in Pima and Maricopa Counties, Operation Bushmaster in Cochise County, and Operation Dome Valley in Yuma County.” The stings interdicted 89 pounds of methamphetamine and arrested 60 suspects, “significantly disrupting transnational criminal activities.”

Merissa Hamilton, head of EZAZ, said at an event with AmericaPack on Friday that Hobbs “ran as a moderate Republican.” During an interview on Sunday Square Off last June, Hobbs said she supported the BSF as a weapon against drug trafficking.

“The governor created the border strike task force that in reality is a drug interdiction unit,” she said.

Hobbs’ campaign website has been scrubbed clean since the general election, but immediately before the election, it had an entire section on “Border Security and Immigration,” with a title at the top that said “Protecting our Border and Strengthening our Communities.” In it, she accused Republicans of not doing “anything to address this issue for decades.” She said, “We need to secure our border, prevent criminals and traffickers from entering the country, and end the chaos and lawlessness we’ve watched for decades.”

The section said “We need” to “disincentivize people from trying to enter the country illegally.” Hobbs said, “As governor, I will use the tools at my disposal to bring resources to our border communities and provide meaningful relief for Arizonans suffering the consequences of decades of federal inaction.”

One of those promises was, “What our border communities need is a partner, not a photo op.”

Hobbs has taken several photos of herself on the border, including with sheriffs. She explained, “Katie will provide Department of Public Safety (DPS) assistance directly to sheriffs on the border, ensuring they have the necessary intelligence and resources to handle migrant crossings humanely and efficiently.”

She added, “A Hobbs Administration will ensure there is more funding for our border communities.”

Fox News could find only one Democratic lawmaker who supported Hobbs’ move. Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ). A spokesperson for Kelly told Fox News, “What’s most important to Senator Kelly is that resources get to where they are most needed, which this step will still do, so law enforcement has the tools they need to help stop drug and human trafficking while keeping our communities safe.”

Hobbs received support for her move from the man she appointed to head the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Jeffrey Glover. While Glover has been recommended for the position by the Senate Committee on Director Nominations, he still must be approved by the full Senate. Frank Milstead, the former Arizona Department of Public Safety director he replaced, who was appointed by Ducey, appeared in a TV commercial last year criticizing Hobbs for voting against the BSF when she was a state legislator.

Ducey requested a doubling of the funding for the BSF from $9 million to $17.1 million in 2022, which the Arizona Legislature approved. He announced in April 2022 the formation of the American Governors’ Border Strike Force, expanding the BSF to 26 states.

Hobbs said she intends to reroute the funding to other law enforcement and possibly humanitarian purposes. Hobbs defended the move by pointing out she’s already stopped the BSF from operating at the border, “Right now, the Border Strike Force is not actually being utilized at the border,” she said at a February press conference.

Encounters between border agents and illegal immigrants are at their highest levels in over two decades. Fentanyl seizures quadrupled at the border between 2019 and 2021. Until about 2012, young people’s leading causes of death were suicide, car crashes, homicide, heart disease, cancer, and HIV. After 2012, poisoning — which includes drug overdoses — became the number one cause of death and now is far ahead of the others.

A survey conducted earlier this month by Rasmussen Reports found that “Arizona voters overwhelmingly support stronger border enforcement.” Sixty-seven percent believe the government is doing too little to reduce illegal border crossings and visitor overstays. Kari Lake, who is challenging her election loss to Hobbs in the courts, said as governor she would make a declaration of invasion, finish the border wall, destroy the cartel’s drug tunnels and surveillance drones, and deploy the Arizona National Guard. The same Rasmussen poll found that 8 percent more voters said they voted for Lake than Hobbs last fall.

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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News NetworkFollow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Katie Hobbs” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo “John Gillette” by Representative John Gillette State of Arizona LD 30. Background Photo “Border Wall” by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.


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6 Thoughts to “Lawmakers Furious at Governor Katie Hobbs for Cutting Border Strike Force with Crime Surging on the Border”

  1. N Mitchell

    Marxists, portraying themselves as Democrats, are taking over our state and the country.

  2. Judy

    Hobbs is being controlled by the CARTEL. Hobbs has the CARTEL lawyer working with her to make sure she does exactly what the want. CARTEL wants open border so there business make money. Some of the judges are receiving money from CARTEL. That why Kerri Lake lost her first trail.

  3. Don’t worry about it kommie Katie. Individual farmers and ranchers will handle this.

  4. Red Collar

    Katy Hobbs and the democrats executed fraudulent activities that allowed her to become the temporary resident in the governor’s mansion. I pray to God that the lower courts have courage in examining the signature verifications and reject those signature that failed the requirements. It was very obvious that Katy Hobbs arranged with the Maricopa Supervisors to sabotage the voting districts are Republicans dominate. Besides, Katy Slobbs should have resigned her SoS position prior to running for AZ Governor. If the verification of signatures does not disqualify her as Govenor, she will be “Recalled”.

    1. Shirley

      I agree she needs to go as soon as 6 months are up. Then we can start the recall process. We have recalled 2 former governors so it can be done. If she manages to stay in office any longer we will become another California. Maybe we could convince the cartel to take care of her the sectary of state the attorney general & every stupid damn Democrat in office here. The only good Democrat is one 6′ under

  5. Bruce Pestell

    Please! Cartel Katie is a complete incompetent and corrupt. Somehow, hiding from the people, refusing to campaign and unable to respond to questions got here elected to the highest executive office in the state. Totally illegitimate.