Gover­nor seeks facts af­ter Trump’s Ariz. border tweet

Ducey un­aware of com­ing ‘mas­sive surge’ of mi­grants near No­gales

Yuma Sun - - FRONT PAGE - BY HOWARD FIS­CHER CAPI­TOL ME­DIA SER­VICES

PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey said Fri­day he has no knowl­edge of Ari­zona “brac­ing for a mas­sive surge’’ of mi­grants through a “non-walled’’ part of the border, de­spite a warn­ing by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

“We’re in con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Home­land Se­cu­rity,’’ the gover­nor said af­ter be­ing asked about the pres­i­dent’s tweet sent late Thurs­day night. “We’re work­ing with them right now to un­der­stand what the sit­u­a­tion is there.’’

The pres­i­dent’s tweet also said, “WE WILL NOT LET THEM through. Big dan­ger.’’ And it said, “Nancy and Chuck must ap­prove Boarder Se­cu­rity and the Wall,’’ mis­spelling the

term “border’’ and re­fer­ring to Demo­cratic lead­ers Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

Ducey said he had seen the tweet.

But as to its ve­rac­ity, the gover­nor had no specifics. In fact, he said, all the tweet did was raise more ques­tions in his mind.

“I wanted to un­der­stand if there was a change in the sit­u­a­tion,’’ Ducey said. “We want to get the facts.’’

What may have prompted the pres­i­den­tial tweet is a state­ment Tues­day by Cus­toms and Border Pro­tec­tion that it had con­ducted a “joint large-scale op­er­a­tions readi­ness ex­er­cise’’ at the DeConcini Port of En­try in down­town No­gales along with the Depart­ment of De­fense.

That ex­er­cise was noted by TV news along with video footage of a con­fronta­tion be­tween some mem­bers of the “car­a­van’’ from Cen­tral Amer­ica and border po­lice that ended up with the use of tear gas.

The No­gales ex­er­cise, by con­trast, was staged and con­trolled.

“They in­cluded tac­ti­cal op­er­a­tions with the use of role play­ers and in­ert smoke to sim­u­late re­al­word en­vi­ron­ments,’’ the CBP state­ment said.

“This train­ing will al­low our of­fi­cers to re­spond tac­ti­cally should a sit­u­a­tion arise,’’ it con­tin­ued. “There were no im­pacts to port op­er­a­tions or the trav­el­ing pub­lic.’’

The gover­nor said,

though, that his lack of knowl­edge of what the pres­i­den­tial tweet sug­gested was an im­pend­ing in­va­sion — as­sum­ing it ac­tu­ally is true — may be no sur­prise.

“Of­ten­times the fed­eral gov­ern­ment will know, es­pe­cially when it’s a co­or­di­na­tion with the Depart­ment of De­fense and Home­land Se­cu­rity, be­fore the gover­nor will know,’’ he said.

That, said Ducey, was the case ear­lier this year when there was a “surge’’ of mi­grants, with il­le­gal en­tries up 200 per­cent over the prior year.

“It was the sec­re­tary of Home­land Se­cu­rity that came and shared that with me be­fore that was in the pub­lic do­main,’’ the gover­nor said.

MIKE CHRISTY/ARI­ZONA DAILY STAR VIA AP

IN THIS NOV. 7 PHOTO (AT LEFT), U.S. Army troops with the 16th Mil­i­tary Po­lice Bri­gade in­stall con­certina wire atop the U.S.-Mex­ico border near the Mor­ley pedes­trian gate just east of the DeConcini Port of En­try in No­gales, Ariz.

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