Arizona Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs Defends Decision to Continue Transporting Immigrants Out of State

Arizona Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs told reporters last week that she would continue her Republican predecessor Doug Ducey’s program to get immigrants out of the state by bus, but in a more humane and efficient way.

On Tuesday, Hobbs defended his decision to maintain the program, telling The Arizona Sun that his administration would focus on ensuring that the state’s continued payment of migrant travel costs is “efficient and humane.”

Then-Democratic candidate for Governor of Arizona, Katie Hobbs, holds a campaign event at the Carpenters Local Union 1912 headquarters in Phoenix on November 5, 2022.
(Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“We just wanted to make sure that we were addressing this issue and, as I’ve spoken many times on the campaign trail, in a way that was the best use of taxpayer resources and something that wasn’t a political stunt,” Hobbs told the newspaper.

So-Gov. Ducey began transporting immigrants out of Arizona in May. The program was later expanded to include the option of chartered air travel aboard a 737 aircraft, under a state contract signed on January 14.

During Ducey’s tenure, more than 3,000 people were bused from the Yuma area to the nation’s capital at a total cost of more than $7 million. Republican lawmakers earmarked $15 million for the program last year. The border has experienced a historic crisis under President Biden, with records for illegal crossings month after month.

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Hobbs, who took office earlier this month, told reporters last week: “We need to look at that practice and make sure it’s effective, [that] It’s something that supports local communities.”

“If we’re spending the money on buses, why not take them to their final destination?” she said.

Shipping containers and vehicle barriers line the US-Mexico border at Coronado National Monument in Cochise County, Arizona on December 11, 2022.

Shipping containers and vehicle barriers line the US-Mexico border at Coronado National Monument in Cochise County, Arizona on December 11, 2022.
(Rebecca Noble/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Hobbs told The Arizona Republic that his approach would differ from the actions of Republican Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida, who have transported immigrants to Democratic-run cities as a rebuke for the Biden administration’s handling. from the south. border.

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“We’re interested in focusing on the humanitarian aspects of this and just putting people on a bus as a political stunt and sending them to Martha’s Vineyard or wherever they’ve gone doesn’t provide any help or solution to the real problem,” Hobbs said. . .

Washington, D.C., Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a public emergency related to the transportation of migrants to the nation’s capital last year. New York Mayor Eric Adams, also a Democrat, recently visited the border at El Paso, Texas, and has declared that there is no longer any place for illegal immigrants in his city. Adams called on the federal government to resolve the crisis.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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