Arizona volunteer militia members over the age of 45 can now serve, thanks in no small part to Governor Jan Brewer. The Republican leader once angered the far left last year when she signed a volunteer militia bill into law (Senate Bill 1495) which allowed for the creation of a volunteer state militia which operates entirely separate from the National Guard.
Republican Representative Jack Harper authored a nearly identical Arizona volunteer militia bill and wholeheartedly praised Governor Brewer for her support of the senate bill. He stated:
“I’m very excited that she signed it, of course. With the national funding for the National Guard on the border expiring in June, I would like to see the governor sign an executive order that immediately establishes the guard.”
Brewer will not reportedly be mandated to create a volunteer state militia, but will now have the authority to establish a new guard group which can serve as a safety net in times of trouble. The military provision pertaining to the formation of a volunteer militia was added to the Arizona Constitution in 1910.
The Arizona Governor had this to say when asked why Texas and California are allegedly receiving more federal help in regards to border security:
“We don’t understand why the federal government will do that for other states, but they refuse to do it in Arizona. I am not going to sit back and be the governor of the state of Arizona and not make a position for Arizona to the federal government that our border needs to be secured. It’s as simple as that. And why don’t they do it? If they [Gang of 8] were to call me today, I would say our border is not secure, and I would not be in a position to support their measure.”
The Arizona volunteer state militia does not have a legislatively defined command structure – the governor can choose who is in charge of the group. Representative Harper has been consulting with Arizona National Guard Adjutant General, Major General Hugo Salazar, about utilization of the volunteer militia. Harper referred to conversations with Salazar on the topic of border security deployment, “encouraging.”
Decontamination after a biological, nuclear, chemical attack or radiological leak are also possible tasks the volunteer militia could be tasked with handling. Last week Governor Jan Brewer vetoed House Bill 2433, which would have prohibited members of the unorganized state militia to be over the age of 45.
She stated that the primary reason she did not support the amendment to the militia bill was because the Arizona state militia, National Guard, and volunteer militia all need to have similar guidelines.
Republican State Senator Sylvia Allen also supported the volunteer militia bill. She feels that the creation of such an entity is a matter of public safety and a responsible way for the legislature to respond to the activities of the Mexican drug cartels along the border. The Arizona volunteer militia members will reportedly be required to undergo weapons training and perhaps other specialized emergency response education as well.
The Arizona Human Right Coalition does not support the additional public safety force. For some unfathomable reason, the group considers a volunteer militia to help thwart border crime a “racist” measure. Human rights activist Isabel Garcia stated she does not support spending money on a volunteer civilian militia when Arizona is facing an economic crisis and public schools in the state are struggling financially.
The Arizona activist is conveniently neglecting to address some of the primary reasons for the fiscal woes in the state—illegal immigration and drug-related crime. (Yes, I said it—illegal immigration. I do not care if the Associated Press has now deemed the term offensive. Until the text contained in the federal law governing unauthorized entry in the United States is altered, the label remains the accurate phrase to use.)
Hiking across the desert to reach a better life is a desire which is easy to understand. But, maintaining public safety via a secure border should be a top priority for members of both political parties. While we are a nation formed by immigrants, billions of dollars of taxpayer funds were not used to provide “cradle to grave” care during the country’s formative years. The America Dream, which once focused upon the limitless opportunities available for hard-working immigrants, is now geared far too heavily on sneaking across the border for the freebies.
The legal immigration process can maintain national security while offering opportunity for a life filled with more freedoms and employment opportunities. The Boston Marathon bombings pointed out the failings of our student visa and asylum process. Heightened background checks and strict adherence to warnings about those relocating (either temporarily or permanently) to America are also a must.
Governor Jan Brewer’s attempts to secure the border are not based in racism but rather a sense of duty to constituents. Arizona residents living along the border should not fear for their lives while enjoying a backyard picnic. Police officers and sheriff’s deputies would have far more time to curtail local crime and protect citizens if border patrol agents were permitted to do their jobs properly. Taxpayer funds would not be wasted on a state volunteer militia. Law enforcement and educations funds would not be stretched so thinly if the US border was secured.
Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon recently met with Governor Brewer. The pair agreed that a secure border is critical for not just the United States, but for Mexico as well. Brewer and Calderon also discussed the ongoing battle against drug cartels and the rich trading partnership between Arizona and Mexico.
There are now reportedly 23 states and US territories with active guards or militias. If Arizona’s volunteer militia does begin border security duties, it will be the first such group to do so. Most state guards function in an auxiliary capacity to state National Guards. Jan Brewer’s volunteer militia will be the first, but perhaps not the last, to take on the massive chore of combating criminal activity on an international level. Both elected officials and citizens in border states feel the federal government has dropped the ball for far too long and are looking closer to home for security services.
You’re No Rosie the Riveter, Jan Brewer bit.ly/qojDhn
— tucsonweekly (@tucsonweekly) August 20, 2011