(Phoenix, Ariz. -- April 20, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard today issued two substantive letters urging action to strengthen federal immigration laws and border security.
In a letter to the Arizona Cattle Growers Association, Goddard gave his support for the cattlemen's call to make the act of crossing the nation's borders illegally a federal felony.
"In the post-9/11 world, our nation's security requires strict laws against, and stern punishments for, those who try to cross our borders undetected," Goddard wrote.
Goddard included this call, along with a host of other border reform ideas, in a letter to President Barack Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Goddard urged:
- Tougher federal laws, including felony status for future illegal entries and enhanced federal employer sanctions.
- Stronger domestic enforcement through additional Border Patrol agents, increased funding for law enforcement and full reimbursement of state costs for incarceration.
- Stronger enforcement in Mexico through better cooperation with, and training of, Mexican prosecutors.
- Better communications infrastructure, crime reporting, modeling and analysis.
- Reducing the demand for illegal labor in the U.S. by better matching lawful immigration flows with actual employment needs.
- Eliminating cartel profits through enhanced money-laundering laws and new rules regulating stored value devices.
In his letter to the President, Goddard said he recognizes the political difficulty of undertaking federal border reform because "the emotions underlying this issue are raw and real." But, he wrote, "failing to act is not an option. It would lead not only to further frustration and cynicism, but to greater border violence and serious threats to our national security."
Goddard's letters come on the heels of the Arizona Legislature's controversial passage of Senate Bill 1070, an immigration bill he does not support.
"This bill does nothing to improve border security or address the core causes of illegal immigration," Goddard said. "It also would take law enforcement resources away from stopping more serious crimes. We need meaningful federal border reforms, and we need them now."
Copies of the two letters are attached.