Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Thursday signed legislation aimed at tackling human smuggling groups.

The bill, House Bill 2696, clarifies language to detail that “an individual who aids illegal human smuggling organizations or operations will be held accountable for their crime.”

“We have seen a dramatic increase in human smuggling at the border since President Biden took office,” said Governor Ducey at a signing ceremony with county sheriffs, lawmakers and state border security leaders. “These criminals drive recklessly, which often ends in death and tragedy. We’ve all seen the news reports. I’m hopeful this new law will help to save lives and deter more migrants from making the dangerous journey to our border.”

According to the governor, the legislation that works to limit the activity is necessary because of lack of action from the federal government.

Multiple county sheriffs attended the signing of the measure, a signal of their support.

“With this bill, we’re continuing to put the hammer down on child sex crimes and human smuggling,” added State Representative Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu City), who sponsored the legislation . “Anyone who takes part in this crime should not be on the streets. We’re sending the message that people who take part in human smuggling will go to jail for a very long time. Thank you to Governor Ducey for his leadership in reinforcing law and order at the border.”

The new law follows Ducey and 25 other Republican governors across the country creating a “border strike force.” The organization is “designed to disrupt and dismantle the transnational criminal organizations taking advantage of the chaos Joe Biden has created along the southern border,” according to the group of governors.

Specifically, the partnership will streamline communication and analysis between different agencies.

— — —

Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Doug Ducey” by Doug Ducey