Southern Arizona reaction to National Guard deployment to the border

TUCSON, Ariz. - After President Trump announced his intention to deploy the National Guard along the Mexico border reaction to the news in southern Arizona has been mixed. Ranchers say they are happy troops will return, but sheriffs in border counties say they are not sure about the plan and are waiting to hear more.

Rancher John Ladd is pleased with President Trump’s announcement. Ladd is a rancher, his family has owned more than 16,000 acres along the border, west of Naco, in Cochise County for more than 120 years.  

For years border here was marked by a short, barbed wire fence and he did not have problems with people crossing his land illegally. Ladd says that changed in the 1980’s.

“After Reagan gave amnesty, that's what started it,” he said.

There are now two types of fence along Ladd’s land: a wall made of mesh steel that is ten feet high and a taller wall made of vertical steel bars with metal plates on the top. Ladd says neither has stopped the problem.

“The reason it doesn't work is because there's not enough Border Patrol at the station to be able to patrol it,” He said. “Boots on the ground is what is needed to have any affect with a wall.”

Ladd supports the decision to put the National Guard to the border because he says it works. He says in 2006 it drastically reduced the number of people he saw crossing his land.

“On the Obama deployment, it was 100 percent effective on our ranch.”

Border county sheriffs are not as enthusiastic.  

“I’m not sure it's a plan just yet,” said Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier. “Often, it’s kind of fire, ready, aim and so we're in that ball park where we really don't know.”

Napier says he has been told troops will only assist in logistics and look out operations not apprehensions, which is what took place during the previous deployments.  

“I think our concerns are over the appearance of the militarization of the border and we've been assured by the Governor’s office that's really not the intent,” Napier said.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada believes the move is political.

“I think it’s the president throwing another tantrum, trying to figure out what he's going to do to get that big beautiful wall up; trying to force congress to go along with him,” Estrada said.

Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels said he needs to know what the plan is.

“The proposed plan is all about security on the border and it needs to be a balanced approach with specific details provided on what this will mean for public safety in Cochise County jurisdictions,” Dannels said.

The border sheriffs have a meeting set for early next week when they will learn more about the deployment from state leaders.

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