Although many are criticizing Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's recent assertion on local TV station KTVK that most immigrants trying to cross the border into Arizona are "drug mules," it's not the first time the Governor has made this argument. During a debate between the Arizona's four Republican candidates for governor earlier this month, Brewer made the same claims. This past weekend, when asked by a local reporter to clarify her argument, she said, "Well, we all know that the majority of the people that are coming to Arizona and trespassing are now becoming drug mules. The drug cartels have taken control of the immigration."
Here’s why we find the Governor’s assertion hard to stomach:
Reason One: When Border Patrol agents and Republican Sen. John McCain disagree with your statement, you know you have a problem. Sen. McCain, who used to have sane views on immigration reform but is now a Brewer ally, was forced to disagree with the blanket statement. When asked flat out if he agreed that most illegal immigrants are "drug mules" on NBC's Meet the Press, Mccain said: "No." T.J. Bonner of the National Border Patrol Council told CNN that Brewer's claims were "clearly not the case." Brewer's comments don't "comport with reality—that's the nicest way to put it," concluded Bonner.
Reason Two: There is absolutely no data to back up Gov. Brewer's claim, and without hard facts, it is totally irresponsible for a public figure of her stature to make such damaging assertions. "If she has no data and is just mouthing off for political reasons, as I believe she is doing, then she must apologize to the people of Arizona for lying to them so blatantly," demanded University of Arizona history professor Oscar Martinez.
Reason Three: The risks of drug trafficking outweigh the benefits for undocumented immigrants trying to cross the border without being detected. If most immigrants crossing the border were "drug mules," arrests and detentions would dramatically skyrocket. "The majority of people continue to come across in search of work, not to smuggle drugs," confirm Bonner, which is probably why a full 10% of Arizona’s workforce is undocumented.