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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Border Crisis

From the New York Times:

Citing a surge of smuggling and violence along the border, the governors of Arizona and New Mexico have issued state of emergency declarations in recent days, faulting the American and Mexican authorities and freeing up federal and state money to strengthen local law enforcement efforts.

"Both federal governments let us down - there doesn't seem to be any sense of urgency," Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona, a Democrat seeking re-election next year, said in a telephone interview Tuesday, a day after declaring a state of emergency in four border counties. Ms. Napolitano said that "ranchers are at their wits' end" with smuggled immigrants who damage their property and livestock.

Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, a Democrat who is also seeking re-election and who may make a bid for the White House in 2008, issued an emergency declaration on Friday, after touring this turbulent border region where a police chief reported being shot at last week.

"This is an act of desperation," Mr. Richardson said in a separate phone interview, adding that border problems had gone beyond illegal immigration to violent crime. He said the action would provide resources "until Congress and the feds deal with this issue," but added, "it is not a political move - I never mentioned the Bush administration."

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