The Biden administration is the only entity that can truly end the border crisis with some grit and a few strokes of a pen, but Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and other conservative leaders in office have worked tirelessly within legal bounds to secure the border as much as possible.
It’s largely a federal, not a state, issue, yet Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is a frequent critic of the incumbent, who cannot run again due to term limits. On “The Morning Ritual with Garrett Lewis” last week, she said Ducey “hasn’t been strong enough on the border,” The Arizona Republic reported.
When she attacked her primary opponent Karrin Taylor Robson back in April by calling her “Doug Ducey in a dress,” she took a sideswipe at Ducey at her expense, I noted in The Washington Examiner at the time.
“If we want the same policies, nasty letters being written to Joe Biden saying please protect us, that’s your gal,” Lake said.
— Kari Lake War Room (@KariLakeWarRoom) April 19, 2022
Thankfully, Ducey fired back while speaking with The Arizona Republic.
“She’s a candidate,” he told the outlet. “She’s making things up.” He later added:
“I know the border. We’re doing everything possible under the law and with resources at the border.[…]
There’s no one out there that has a more comprehensive plan than the one we’re already executing in Arizona, the one that was rolled out, in addition, in the State of the State (speech).”
While it is certainly understandable that Lake wants tougher border policies, many of the things she has suggested would likely result in tons of legal trouble for the state.
According to The Arizona Republic, Lake has suggested declaring an invasion at the border in order give the state much more power, which the newspaper describes as an “untested legal strategy.” In addition, she has suggested bombing tunnels that cartels may use, and essentially ignoring the existence of the federal government in order to finish the wall and secure the border.
“I don’t care what Joe Biden says, he’s an illegitimate president, and if he wants to try to stop us, then he can come down here and try to stop us,” Lake said, according to the Republic.
The point is not whether or not one thinks that these policies would help eradicate the crisis.
Here’s the problem: The role of the state government is limited when it comes to border security, and skirting the federal government is not going to change that. In fact, it will only make things worse and could lead to retaliatory actions against Arizona.
There would undoubtedly be a legal circus in which aggressive state policies would get shot down in court. It would be nothing but a distraction from doing real, legal things to protect the border. If Lake is elected governor, on day one she needs to meet with Ducey and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to build off of their strategies, like the American Governor’s Border Strike Force, Operation Lone Star, and building a border wall where the state is legally allowed to do so.
A candidate can visit the border as many times as they like, but it is pointless to call out someone who seems to be exhausting every reasonable option at the state level.
Right now, Lake appears to be using fiery rhetoric and making bold promises in order to drum up campaign support.
Ducey and I spoke in-depth about the border for PJ Media last month, and he explained the crisis in great detail. Unfortunately, the states can only do so much, and governors, congressional Republicans, and the judicial branch need to keep holding the Biden administration accountable.