Friday, June 25

Open letter sent to D.C. politicians urging action from elected officials

Former president of sheriff’s association calls out border activity

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) – Conchise County Sheriff Mark J. Dannels released a letter Friday, March 19, through the Arizona Sheriff’s Association alleging “theatrical politics” at fault in Washington, D.C., are of “complete disinterest to sheriffs.”

“Nowhere else in the civilized world would we tolerate literally thousands of children (emphasis children) unaccompanied by a parent coming to an international border for refuge,” Dannels reminds the public. “This would be correctly viewed as an international humanitarian crisis.”

Sheriff Mike J. Dannels

The current conditions on the Arizona-Mexico border seem to be impacting public safety within the area and constitute a humanitarian crisis. Close proximity to this activity directly impacts homes, communities, citizens and the way of life.

Dannels recognizes the shortcomings of local authorities admitting, “Our federal partners, at no fault of theirs, are completely ill-equipped to care for these children. Anywhere else in the world massive resources would be summoned to the border and relevant policies/politics would be under scrutiny. Yet, here today we have a posture that appears to tacitly encourage this, and we remain immersed in politics rather than solutions. We urgently need solutions, not politics.”

Undocumented migration into America is not a harmless activity because migrants are obligated to interact with transnational criminal organizations (TCO’s) to be shepherded to the border. Entering the country undetected typically requires interaction with coyotes which tend to criminally, sexually and financially take advantage of desperate individuals.

“To encourage this activity through policies and political rhetoric is not compassionate public policy. In fact, it is exactly the opposite,” claims Dannels. “We are learning about a record number of undocumented persons swarming the border and being taken into custody by federal law enforcement. This is potentially a small fraction of those coming into the country. In Cochise County, Arizona they have a sophisticated camera system along migrant routes across the border. These cameras detect significantly more traffic than our federal partners report capturing.”

TCO’s profiteer nearly as much from trafficking humans as they do from drugs. Estimates are this may be a multi-billion-dollar enterprise for smugglers. There are vast desert/mountain areas to be traversed in a harsh environment incentivizing refugees to “trust” TCO’s.

“Our estimates are that only about 28% of the people crossing illegally are taken into custody. While the scope of the known crisis is enormous, we believe it may be underreported by close to 300%,” points out Dannels. “While some will argue these are good people simply coming here for a better life, to not acknowledge that among them are dangerous criminals and persons who potentially pose national security concerns is either ignorant or willfully disingenuous. How is this not to be considered a crisis?”

Every year, sheriffs find hundreds of bodies in remote areas of border counties. Many will never be identified and what befell them will never be known. Tragically, a family somewhere will never know what happened to a loved one.

Dannels asserts, “Due to what we believe is misdirected policy from Washington, DC undocumented persons are being released into our communities. This is overloading our NGO’s and nonprofits. Once released we have an affirmative responsibility to provide some standard of care for these people. Our local community resources are no longer able to provide social services to our own citizens. We have no meaningful assistance from the federal government. The appearance is of washing their hands of a mess they alone created and leaving it to border communities to struggle through. This is completely unacceptable.”

The letter states that TCO’s are exploiting the migrant crises to ensure the redirection of law enforcement resources away from the importing of illegal drugs into this country. Such claims mirror record amounts of drugs being seized along the border.

“Let’s be clear, nothing about the handling of the current flood of migrants to our border is consistent with ‘following the science’ or CDC guidance,” Dannels discusses. “The release of potentially infected undocumented, and most certainly uninsured, migrants into border communities strains our already stressed public health system.”

A public health crisis seems to be looming in Yuma County, topping the steadfast public safety and humanitarian crisis. He wonders why there is no outcry from Washington, D.C., lawmakers who saw it necessary to place restrictions on U.S. citizens’s movements and activities.

“We are troubled that the current direction from other elected officials and the resultant posture of some in federal law enforcement appears to violate that oath. This should trouble all Americans,” finishes Dannels. “Arizona’s Border Sheriffs are not interested in the politics of the current crisis or perceived political/ideological victories. We need policies from Washington, DC that discourage rather than incentivize undocumented immigration. We need current laws enforced, not ignored. We need resources to address the public safety, humanitarian, and public health crisis we face. We take this stance not because we hold animus toward anyone. Quite the contrary. We stand firm in our commitment to the rule of law, care for all human beings and love for the communites we serve and call home. Urgent action from our elected officials is absolutely required. The time for politics and partisanship has passed.”

His points seem valid and pose a good question: “If COVID-19 is such a health risk, why are numerous people with little-to-no identification being released into the public while Americans can’t even leave their homes without an essential obligation?”

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