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Sitton unveils border security plan
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CD8

Sitton unveils border security plan

CD8 candidate wants greater focus on drug violence

  • Republican candidate for CD8 Dave Sitton discusses his border security plan Thursday at his Grant Road office.
    Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.comRepublican candidate for CD8 Dave Sitton discusses his border security plan Thursday at his Grant Road office.

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.

Dave Sitton's 10-point border security plan

  1. Additional aircraft: Substantially increase the use of aircraft, fixed wing and rotorcraft, for monitoring the border and transporting Border Patrol agents to remote areas.
  2. Additional stations and forward operating bases: Provide funding for additional/upgraded Border Patrol stations and forward operating bases in the Tucson Sector and explore the possibility of an additional Border Patrol sector for Arizona. Identify a mechanism to better facilitate cooperative operations involving sectors in different border states.
  3. Cooperative agreements: Replace existing law enforcement grant programs with cooperative agreements between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies allowing more local control of law enforcement operations. Target federal funding through these agreements to the highest-risk states, cities and counties.
  4. Fencing: Construct, repair and replace fencing at appropriate locations along the Arizona-Mexico border.
  5. Continue and expand consequence programs: Fully fund and support Operation Streamline in Arizona's two Border Patrol Sectors to, at a minimum, ensure repeat illegal border-crossers go to jail for 15 to 60 days.
  6. Federal reimbursement: Create a new federal reimbursement program for local governments and private landowners along the border to offset their costs incurred due to increased border security infrastructure and activity.
  7. Judicial and medical costs: Require the federal government to fully reimburse state and local governments for the cost of incarcerating criminal aliens. Health-care providers must also be reimbursed for services provided to illegal immigrants.
  8. U.S.-Mexico task forces: Increase cooperation between the U.S. and Mexican law enforcement through Border Enforcement Security Task Forces.
  9. Ports of Entry: Add 200 Office of Field Operations agents at the Arizona ports of entry by 2015. Require funding for new ports and upgrades to existing ports to facilitate legal movement of people and trade.
  10. Costs to our nation: Require the federal government to develop new criteria for measuring the costs of illegal immigration to our nation. For example, we need to know the actual cost of borderland fires, damage to private property, environment cleanup and degradation.

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