Sitton unveils border security plan
CD8 candidate wants greater focus on drug violence
Dirty bombs, narco-terrorists and heavily armed ranchers were among issues touched on by Arizona CD8 Republican candidate Dave Sitton at the unveilingThursday of his 10-point border security plan.
Sitton acknowledged that with a sour economy in the United States, illegal immigration among those seeking work is down, but said the threat of violence by drug criminals who enter the country illegally is on the rise.
"The area has been turned into a war zone," Sitton said.
"I'm not an expert with the border, but I'm learning," Sitton said earlier.
"My intention of releasing this policy today is to start a discussion," Sitton told a handful of campaign staffers and supporters at his Grant Road campaign office.
Sitton's answer to the "amount of firepower of those bringing drugs into this country" is a shotgun approach of more people and policy that requires air power.
"We need more rotor craft as well as fixed-wing craft [patrolling the border]," Sitton said.
He also called for more Border Patrol stations and forward-operating bases, Border Patrol outposts in the desert, and enhancements at ports of entry to "encourage the legal flow of people."
Sitton also called out a porous physical border that could attract terrorists. Sitton called for the repair, maintenance and expansion of existing fences, vehicle barriers and walls.
"It's known that for anyone wanting to conduct a 9/11-style attack that doesn't involve an airplane would use dirty bombs," Sitton said, indicating that such weapons would come in over the U.S.-Mexico border.
Sitton said Washington has fumbled border policy for many administrations, and that the lack of concern for people living on the border is an insult.
"I'm not here to impugn agencies," Sitton said. "They need more support and more funding."
Cochise County rancher and real-estate developer Chris Kemmerly, a neighbor to slain rancher Robert Krentz, said he has seen drug scouts while rounding up cattle.
"It's going to happen again," Kemmerly said of border violence.
"I'm better armed than a TPD cop," Kemmerly said. "How sad is that?"
Beyond more people on the border to protect Kemmerly and others, Sitton called for a U.S.-Mexico task force to increase law enforcement cooperation between the countries, increased jail time for repeat offenders and a better Federal plan for assessing the actual costs of illegal immigration.
Sitton joins fellow Republicans Frank Antenori, Jesse Kelly and Martha McSally, Democrat Ron Barber and the Green Party's Charlie Manolakis in the special election bid to fill the CD8 seat left vacant by Gabrielle Giffords.
The primary is April 17, with early voting set to begin March 22. The deadline to register to vote in the special election is March 19. The special general election June 12 will fill the seat in Arizona's 8th Congressional District through next January.