Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels doesn’t mince words. He’s angry that
local law enforcement and the citizens who call the Southwest border
home have been left out of the decision making process when it comes to
security and immigration reform.
Dannels has lived along the border since 1984. He remembers when the
dangers from smugglers circumventing the rocky, mountainous terrain were
few and far between. Now, he says, a different breed of narcotics
traffickers has amassed weapons, technology and small armies of death;
threatening not only the stability of Mexico but U.S. national security
as well. He works closely with DEA, FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol
and Immigration and Customs Enforcement but the system is not perfect.
Sitting at a local eatery under the
shadow of the Huachuca Mountains, he questioned how much time, if any,
the law makers who drafted SB 774 – known as the ”Gang of Eight” bill —
had actually spent on the border. Dannels, along with residents living
on the Southwest border and local senior law enforcement officials told
TheBlaze on a recent trip to Arizona that they were left out of the
decision making process on border security. They say the Gang of Eight
bill just isn’t good enough when it comes to addressing the complex
security issues they deal with every day.
“Look at (Sen. Marco) Rubio out of
Florida — have you been down here, Rubio?” he said, noting that drug
cartels had just replaced a radio relay station on the mountain that the
sheriff’s team had taken down less than three weeks earlier.