A week after Arizona’s governor declared a state of emergency in counties bordering Mexico, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed yesterday that it agreed to strengthen its law enforcement presence in areas that are experiencing high levels of illegal immigration, reports the Washington Post. In a letter sent Monday to Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D), DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said Immigration and Customs Enforcement will train local investigators to deal with human trafficking in Phoenix.
The Border Patrol will allow its officers to help local police patrol main highways used by illegal immigrants. DHS also agreed to a state proposal that would allow the state to help ICE transport undocumented immigrants. Several southwestern states have had a tense relationship with federal authorities over border issues. Napolitano called ICE’s inattention to her state “bewildering.” New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson declared a state of emergency along the Mexico border. Napolitano did the same two days later. The declarations allow the governors to spend nearly $1.5 million each to hire more police, buy vehicles and otherwise shore up law enforcement in counties that border Mexico.