Advocating for Rural America Means Advocating for a Secure Border

By Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and Rep. Juan Ciscomani (AZ-06)

This piece was originally published in the Herald Review.

As the crisis on our southern border rages on with no end in sight, communities in Southern Arizona and across border states are struggling with the consequences. This week, members of the Congressional Western Caucus, a group of U.S. representatives dedicated to advocating for rural and western communities, are visiting the border in Arizona to see the impacts of the border crisis firsthand.

Since President Biden took office in January 2021, there have been more than 8 million illegal crossings at the southern border, a staggering number that has placed an undue burden on the surrounding rural communities.

Make no mistake, this major influx is a direct result of the administration’s open borders policies that we’re fighting to end. We must secure our border to end the continued flow of illicit drugs and human trafficking that is plaguing not only Southern Arizona, but communities across the country.

Prior to visiting the border, Western Caucus members will meet with local law enforcement officials from the Cochise County Sheriff’s Department to receive a briefing on how crime related to the crisis has impacted local communities and how the federal government can support their efforts to combat the criminal activity that cartels are bringing into the community.

The members will then visit the border to see the impacts of illegal crossings and receive an update from U.S. Customs and Border Protection about the challenges the agency faces day after day under Biden-era border policies. One less-reported consequence of the border crisis is the amount of trash and waste left behind at the border by those crossing. That’s why we’ll be visiting the Coronado National Memorial to see the environmental impacts on America’s public lands. Following this visit, the House Natural Resources Committee will host a field hearing in Sierra Vista to further highlight the environmental degradation and security of our public lands along the southern border.

Additionally, while in Arizona, caucus members will visit the University of Arizona’s San Xavier Underground Mining Laboratory to hear about Arizona’s long and proud mining tradition. The lab is a student-run facility where America’s next generation of miners and engineers gain valuable hands-on experience on how to operate a mine in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Supporting America’s miners and mining jobs in rural communities is vital for both local economic growth and national security, and remains a top priority of the Western Caucus.

These firsthand experiences and feedback are critical for members of Congress to better understand the problems faced by rural communities along the southern border. We will continue to advocate for a secure border to help return prosperity and order to our border communities and rural communities across America.

Dan Newhouse represents Washington’s 4th Congressional District and serves as chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus.

Juan Ciscomani represents Arizona’s 6th Congressional District.

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