Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

May 25, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Border Funding


  • Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard discusses President Obama’s plan to send 1,200 National Guard troops to the Mexico border and ask Congress for $500 million to improve border security.
Guests:
  • Terry Goddard - Arizona Attorney General
Category: Immigration   |   Keywords: immigration,

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Tonight on "Horizon," what Arizona's attorney general says about the President's plan to step up border security. Find out why the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors wants to limit Sheriff Joe Arpaio's spending. And we'll take a look at how Arizona's immigration law could help some gain legal status. That's next on "Horizon."
Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon," I'm Ted Simons. President Obama today announced plans to deploy as many as 1200 National Guard troops to the Mexico border. He's asking Congress for a supplemental appropriation of $500 million to enhance border security. Here to talk about what it means to Arizona is the attorney general, Terry Goddard.
Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon," thanks for joining us.

Terry Goddard :
Good evening.

Ted Simons:
1200 troops at the border, where will they be?

Terry Goddard :
We don't have those details yet, and I don't think the administration has sprung them yet. I do feel this is a great first step. We have been shouting, screaming, hollering, writing letters to make sure the administration took cognizance of the problem on the border and this is a response I'm delighted to see.

Ted Simons:
We don't know exactly where, probably don't know exactly what they are going to do?

Terry Goddard :
We've got some clarification on what they are going to do. They are in a support role for the border patrol. What 1200 troops means is a lot more agents are going to be freed up to do more of what they do best, criminal investigation and prosecution and bringing the cartel bosses to trial. We've got to go after the serious criminal threat that threatens our border and brings drugs and human beings across the border every single day. Its about time we've got some very serious national backup in that effort and it's about time.

Ted Simons:
So they won't necessarily be involved in apprehending and stopping of border crossers?


Terry Goddard :
I think we should get at least half that many, that provides really the critical extra element that allows the border patrol to do a better job. It releases people from the backup they are doing right now so they can go after the criminals.

Ted Simons:
If 1200 is a good number, why not more?

Terry Goddard :
I don't know what the right number is. I'm saying this is the first step, the beginning of a process I think will take quite a while. This is what they are finally hearing, what I've been trying to say for several years: We've got an entrenched organized criminal enemy. The cartels are very well funded, devious, technologically savvy and they are brutal. It's not going to be a matter of “we'll bring in a few troops and they will be gone”, not at all. It's going to take maximum coordination and a maximum effort to go into Mexico, I believe, to go to their lair and get them out. It's going take cooperation from the Mexican authorities, as well. This is just a start, but an exciting start, one I believe will bear good fruit. Everybody's doing it and everybody's taking credit. My letter, your letter, congratulations, Ted.

Ted Simons:
Thank you. Senators Kyl and McCain say 6,000. This is 1200. You're saying don't be surprised if more happens later?

Terry Goddard :
Here's the way I read this. I'm going to try to make sure with advocacy that it comes true. This is a first step, a recognition that there's a national problem that's going to take a national response. I don't think anybody -- I certainly don't have the magic number. It may take significantly more, More ICE, more investigators from, let's say, the FBI that need to come down. We're talking about an organized criminal threat. It's not something troops normally have a lot of sophistication to go after. They can give the criminal investigators a chance to do their job. Will it take 1200 or 6,000? I don't know, I don't think the senators know. But I'll tell you what I think the second step needs to be. While we go after cartels, we need to regularize employment situations in the state and across the country with the border reform.

Ted Simons:
The President is also looking at $500 million in appropriations, that's a lot of money. What does it look like it's going to be spent on? Technology and this sort of thing?

Terry Goddard :
They haven't given us the details. I can tell you what I'd like it to be spent on. It's part of the effort to go after the cartels, that means intelligence, surveillance, finding out where their agents are. I would love to see a sweep that takes the scouts off the hills in southern Arizona. That's one of the ways we could use that $500 million very, very productively. We can find them using technology, night vision operations, high-flying aircraft. Then we have to bring the sweep in and take these people off the hills. Why we've tolerated this for so many years is a mystery to me. I believe this is the beginning of a comprehensive effort to fight back against the organized criminals.

Ted Simons:
With that in mind, why now? What took so long? What prompted this?

Terry Goddard :
I've been beating my gums bloody trying to get this kind of response. Other people and other factors are certainly in place. There's a lot of politics. I know it'll surprise you, but that also is part of this mix. Let's not question the message, let's look at the result and try to figure out how to deploy it at effectively as possible. That's where Arizona needs to be able to get some answers from the federal government.

Ted Simons:
One more political question on this, though. Do you think the immigration bill got things moving?

Terry Goddard :
Well, it could have. It was a cry of distress. At the very least, I think one thing we can agree on, it was a statement of frustration by Arizona, by our legislature, by our people saying, federal government, you've left us hanging out. We're the gateway for over half of the illegal drugs and people coming in illegally to this country. It's time we got some help. And frankly, it was the wrong answer to the question, it was attacking individuals who have been living here sometimes for many, many years, instead of attacking the cartels. Now we've got help where it's most needed and that is going after the organized criminals.

Ted Simons:
We talked about folks frantic to take credit for this.

Terry Goddard :
It's a feeding frenzy.


Ted Simons:
Yes, it is. But there are some critics saying this is not really going to make much of a difference. This is not immigration reform, this is stop-gap. How do you respond?

Terry Goddard :
There are two parts and they both require federal help. The first one, I believe the absolutely critical part, is to make sure the organized criminal threat is stopped. That we use the tools we have and have not deployed in this particular area to go after the cartels, to go after them in Mexico, and that's going to require international cooperation. But I believe Mexico is more than willing to allow us to work jointly with them to go after these criminals. They have killed 22,000 people in Mexico. The second half is to make sure we have immigration reform. I called it border reform a minute ago, but it's immigration reform. It's got to be tough, fair, but it's got to recognize that there are some people working in this country that are here illegally, they are not -- they are not on the rolls appropriately. They need to get right with the law. They need to get to the back of the line and probably have to pay a fine. But we need a system that will recognize the legitimate workers that want to come into this country or are here now, that's what immigration reform means to me. That will relieve a huge amount of the pressure we're seeing.

Ted Simons:
Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano says the border is as safe now as it ever has been. Do you agree with that?

Terry Goddard :
This is a play on words. The cartels are vibrant, making billions a year and bringing crime into the United States. That's not safe in my estimation. Here are the statistics that are so easily distorted. The cities along the border are not subject to crime because the cartels are blowing right past them. They are bringing the Caravans to Phoenix and up to Denver and across the United States. That's the crime I'm concerned about, that's what has to be stopped.

Ted Simons:
Have we heard anything from Mexico regarding the President's announcement today?

Terry Goddard :
I have not, but I can't help but think this would be applauded in Mexico. Because they have the brunt of the fight against the cartels. As I've said, they have lost 22,000 people. This is one of the bloodiest exercises anywhere in the world. The carnage in Mexico is a direct result of the border crime I'm trying to go after. We've tried to do our part in Arizona by attacking the funds that fuel the cartels and make them possible. The federal government needs to step up there, too. I hope some of that $500 million is going to intercept the billions going from the United States illegally to the cartels' pocketbooks. If we can do that, we can take them out of business because they are in it because it pays them very, very well. It's incumbent on us to fight this war on every single front. Go after the drug dealers and human smugglers, but also the folks illegally moving money back to Mexico.

Ted Simons:
We'll stop you right there. Thanks for joining us.

Terry Goddard :
Thank you so much.

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