Governor Doug Ducey addresses members of the media in front of a portion of border wall near the Douglas Municipal Airport on March 19, 2021./Alisa Reznick/AZPM
By Richard Ruelas | Arizona Republic
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday the creation of the American Governors’ Border Strike Force that is meant to secure the border with Mexico, even though many of the states involved are closer to the country’s northern border with Canada.
Ducey, in a news release, said that the newly created strike force, described as an information-sharing network, was modeled after the Arizona Border Strike Force, an entity Ducey created in 2015 after public criticism that he had failed to follow through with a campaign promise to secure the border.
The Arizona Border Strike Force, according to statistics provided by the agency that runs it, racks up impressive statistics of drug seizures by counting contraband found during routine traffic stops, often nowhere near the Mexican border.
Ducey made the Arizona Border Strike Force, which has received more than $100 million in state funding, a central theme in his 2018 reelection campaign.
The national Border Strike Force that was announced Tuesday involves Arizona and 25 other states, all led by Republican governors. Ducey has been president of the Republican Governors Association since 2021. Under his leadership, the RGA reported breaking fundraising records in its efforts to install or keep Republicans in governors’ offices.
Two Republican governors did not sign on to the effort: Phil Scott of Vermont and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts. Representatives for both governors did not immediately return a request for comment. Also not signing, though a listed member of the RGA, was Ralph Torres, governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Among the states that signed on to the force, designed to strengthen the border with Mexico, were five — New Hampshire, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Alaska — that share a border with Canada.
A Ducey news release described the American Border Strike Force as a method of “sharing intelligence, strengthening cybersecurity and improving efforts to protect children and families.”
Though Ducey and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the effort was designed to secure the border, the agreement reached by the states was more focused on sharing information about crimes that could be traced to the border region.