A letter from community organizations is asking the Arizona Border Counties Coalition to reject the help from out-of-state law enforcement groups that Gov. Doug Ducey requested “urgently” go to the border with Mexico “in defense of our sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The organizations — the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, the Kino Border Initiative, People Helping People and the Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson — said Ducey’s June request is using a Trump-era emergency public health authority known as Title 42, which prohibits entry into the U.S., that President Joe Biden has kept in place. The groups say its use is causing a “human rights crisis at the border.”
“We ask that at this time of horrific anti-migrant sentiment and policies, including the continued usage of xenophobic Title 42 at the border, that you protect your constituencies, including us, from dangerous and unnecessary encroachment from outside state law enforcement officials,” the groups wrote. “Allowing this encroachment from outside state governors and law enforcement agents is the wrong move for the Arizona border communities that you represent.”
In June, Ducey and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called on other states to send law enforcement officers to their southern borders. It is unclear what work they will do, and a spokesman for Ducey’s office did not respond to repeated requests for information.
Ducey told a radio show on Friday that the state is “surging badges to the border.”
Yvette Borja, an attorney with the ACLU of Arizona, said Ducey’s request is more about political grandstanding than providing meaningful assistance to border communities.
“State law enforcement can’t engage in federal immigration enforcement, period,” Borja said.
In April, Ducey sent Arizona National Guard troops to the border.
Several roads remain closed in Pima County as of Friday afternoon.
PHOENIX – NASA has appointed a University of Arizona professor to lead a project to track asteroids that potentially could crash into Earth. The mission involves launching a telescope into a high orbit to locate such near-Earth objects using the infrared radiation they emit.
Amy Mainzer, a professor of planetary sciences, will lead a team building the Near Earth Object Surveyor, an infrared telescope that will track and characterize any asteroids that one day could crash into the planet.
“We want to spot them when they are years to, ideally, decades away from any potential impact with the Earth,” Mainzer said.
Objects intersecting with the Earth’s orbit around the sun are classified as near-Earth objects, or NEOs. They can be as small as a car and big enough to obliterate an area the size of Southern California.
The telescope’s infrared sensors will detect the infrared light emitted by meteors, comets and other asteroids as they move in space.
The mission will help with two active projects run by UA to scan for NEOs. The Spacewatch Project and the Catalina Sky Survey are part of the ground-based surveys at the university’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, which track about 50% of all known near-Earth objects today.
“Each night, astronomers across the globe diligently use ground-based optical telescopes to discover new NEOs, characterize their shape and size, and confirm they do not pose a threat to us,” Kelly Fast, program manager for NASA’s NEO Observations Program, said in a news release. “Those telescopes are only able to look for NEOs in the night sky. NEO Surveyor would allow observations to continue day and night, specifically targeting regions where NEOs that could pose a hazard might be found.”
Mayors from 11 Arizona communities, including Tucson, Phoenix, Oro Valley and Marana, sent a letter to Arizona congressional leaders, supporting Amtrak’s proposal for a passenger rail connecting Tucson and Phoenix.
“It's about a regional approach to economic development because what's good for Tucson is good for the region,” said Romero in a media roundtable with Amtrak and city leaders on Tuesday. “It really is about offering an opportunity to all of our residents, including those that live south of Tucson in Nogales and Rio Rico, to connect even tourists that are coming in from Sonora, Mexico, which is our number one trading partner in Arizona, to Tucson.”
The passenger rail would be an alternative to driving, with a five-minute shorter travel time than the peak two-hours-and-30-minute commute from Tucson to Phoenix, said Amtrak President Stephen Gardner. The route would also link other towns, such as Marana, Coolidge and Goodyear.
The rail would offer three daily round trips between Tucson, Phoenix and Buckeye, and one daily trip from Tucson to Los Angeles. The proposed line is part of Amtrak’s Corridor Vision Plan to expand low carbon intercity passenger rail service to 160 communities across the nation over the next 15 years.
“We have a global climate crisis. In part congestions on the road and really in the air feed some of that. We have a history of some structural inequality in society but particularly in transportation as well,” said Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn. “We believe that one way to rise and address these challenges that our country confronts is through expanding intercity passenger rail service, putting in place a system that offers frequent reliable, sustainable and equitable alternatives to driving and flying.”
Flynn said the rail could address long-term congestion issues in the corridor, as Tucson commuters are estimated to spend about 90% more time in traffic than elsewhere and large city commuters may be experiencing as much as 62 hours of congestion delay, estimated to cost about $1,000 a year.