(NewsNation) — With a new Democratic governor set to take office in Arizona next year, officials are hoping she works to secure the U.S./Mexico border.
Addressing the border was made a priority under current Gov. Doug Ducey. Incoming Gov. Katie Hobbs, the secretary of state for Arizona who recently beat former TV anchor Kari Lake in the 2022 midterm elections, said she has a border plan that’s been backed by two sheriffs in the area.
One of the moves Ducey made while in office was to put into place shipping containers along the southern border, including the city of Yuma and Cochise County. While the Biden administration has called on Ducey to remove the shipping containers and stop the construction of any additional barriers, Ducey has not complied.
Hobbs said she would remove the containers if elected, calling them a “political stunt” that are not really solving issues, KYMA reported.
Yuma Mayor Doug Nichols, however, says the shipping containers have been helping to manage the number of people crossing the border without authorization.
“I think people will have a different perspective,” Nichols said. “Maybe leaving (the containers) in place here in the Yuma area would be something that (Hobbs) could then entertain after understanding the Yuma area a little bit better.”
On her website, Hobbs criticizes both political parties in Washington for treating immigration “as a political football,” as well as former President Donald Trump’s policies, which she said were “anti-immigrant.”
She said she will work with the federal government when it comes to the border.
“Americans want a lawful and orderly immigration process. We need policies that encourage people to choose to participate in a tough but fair legal immigration process and disincentivize people from trying to enter the country illegally,” she said. “And we can do this while helping boost Arizona’s economy in the short and long term.”
Sheriff Mark Lamb, of Pinal County, said he is optimistic Hobbs will prioritize border security, though he said he’s skeptical she will get the federal administration to act.
“I have to believe that the incoming governor will see the issues that we’re facing and help us tackle those,” he said. “My concern is that we don’t do anything and we continue on with the human trafficking and drug trafficking at the levels that we’ve been seeing. It’s just it’s crippling.”
Migrants were stopped 2.38 million times at the Mexican border in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, which is up 37% from the year before.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.