A Small Arizona Town Prepares To Fight State Over Illegal Immigration

February 12, 2024   |   Tags:
A Small Arizona Town Prepares To Fight State Over Illegal Immigration

Authored by Allan Stein via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

As a small rural town in Arizona, Springerville has what it needs in terms of material amenities for its residents. There’s a general store, a small regional hospital, a supermarket, retail shops, hotels and restaurants, and parks for recreational vehicles during the tourist season.

(Illustration by The Epoch Times, Getty Images, James Fee, Public Domain, Allan Stein/The Epoch Times)

The town’s closest neighbor is Eagar (population 4,800). The nearest city is Show Low (population 11,732), about 50 miles southwest across vast golden hills and open range.

“The one thing I pride myself on with this little community is we band together,” Springerville’s Mayor Shelly Reidhead told The Epoch Times. “We love each other, and we take care of each other.

“I hope that holds when it hits the fan.”

Although Springerville sits 300 miles from the U.S.–Mexico border, the illegal immigration crisis almost landed on its doorstep last year.

This year, Ms. Reidhead fears another showdown with her state officials if the border crisis grows much worse.

“I’ve been dreading 2024 because I know what we’re in for [with the presidential election]. It’s not going to be a pretty year.”

In May 2023, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs and her staff pushed the idea of busing illegal aliens to Springerville and housing them in the 189,000-square-foot dome stadium, the Round Valley Ensphere.

The Round Valley Ensphere can seat up to 5,500 spectators, in Springerville, Ariz., on Feb. 7, 2024. (Allan Stein/The Epoch Times)

When residents found out, they were furious and prepared to take action.

Some wanted to block the buses carrying the illegal immigrants at the town line with chain barriers—and come armed if necessary, according to residents who didn’t want their names used.

It was a tense situation, they said. Fortunately, the confrontation never came about after the town told the governor’s office to get lost.

The stadium looks like a giant flying saucer landed in the middle of horse and cattle country. It’s a massive wooden-dome stadium that can seat 5,500 spectators in bleachers away from the elements.

Due to its sheer size, the futuristic-looking enclosure has multiple uses. Years ago, it provided temporary shelter for displaced wildfire victims.

The Arizona governor eyed it up to temporarily place illegal immigrants.

But, the town moved against it.

On July 19, 2023, Springerville’s town council passed a binding resolution, signed by the mayor, that said “no” to the town footing the bill for immigrants—illegal or legal.

An outside view of the Round Valley Ensphere dome stadium in Springerville, Ariz., on Feb. 7, 2024. (Allan Stein/The Epoch Times)

The town is a small municipality with limited buildings, space, and material resources to accept, house, maintain, or support migrants,” the two-page resolution reads.

But, legally, it could take more than a binding resolution to prevent the state from dropping off busloads of illegal aliens and creating problems for the town, Ms. Reidhead said.

Located in Apache County, Springerville ranks among the state’s poorest communities, with 1,730 residents and a median income of $46,311 in 2022.

Almost 12 percent live below the poverty line.

You’re in cowboy country here,” said Ms. Reidhead, who takes a hard line over illegal immigration and protecting her community’s traditional way of life.

The Epoch Times has reached out to Ms. Hobbs’s office, which has yet to respond.

Ms. Reidhead and other town officials have been keeping a close eye on the southern border since President Joe Biden took office.

“What [the Biden administration] wants is a broken, chaotic country,” Ms. Reidhead said. “They’re doing a good job.”

“We can’t even feed the people in the United States now. How are we going to feed another 8 million people?”

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, border agents apprehended more than 2.4 million illegal aliens at the southern border during the fiscal year spanning October 2022 through September 2023. Another 189,402 were encountered along the northern U.S. border.

CBP has already reported nearly 989,000 illegal immigrants during the first quarter of fiscal 2024.

Illegal immigrants wait to be processed by U.S. border authorities after spending the night in the desert in Lukeville, Ariz., on Dec. 5, 2023. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Officials say that illegal border crossings have begun to shift away from the embattled 1,254-mile southern border in Texas and to Arizona and California as the Lone State state battles with the Biden administration over border security in Texas.

Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott has so far prevailed in his state’s efforts to increase border security, but he’s being sued by the Biden administration over several measures, including concertina wire, river buoys, and new state legislation.

In Arizona

In December 2023, CBP temporarily closed Arizona’s Lukeville shared port of entry with Mexico due to a surge in illegal crossings.

Later that month, Ms. Hobbs ordered the deployment of Arizona’s National Guard to assist Border Patrol agents in Lukeville with processing foreign nationals who entered the country illegally.

The governor has deflected criticism over her handling of the border crisis in Arizona onto the federal government.

“Yet again, the federal government is refusing to do its job to secure our border and keep our communities safe,” Ms. Hobbs said in a Dec. 15 statement announcing the deployment of National Guardsmen.

“With this executive order, I am taking action where the federal government won’t. But we can’t stand alone; Arizona needs resources and manpower to reopen the Lukeville crossing, manage the flow of migrants, and maintain a secure, orderly, and humane border,” she said.

“Despite continued requests for assistance, the Biden administration has refused to deliver desperately needed resources to Arizona’s border.”

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Mon, 02/12/2024 - 23:55


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