Celeste Maloy calls for better coordination between states, feds on border enforcement

Utah Rep. Celeste Maloy, R-Utah, walks with Gollad County, Texas, Sheriff Roy Boyd at the border in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Jan. 3. Maloy briefed state lawmakers about recent visits to the border during a meeting Monday.

Utah Rep. Celeste Maloy, R-Utah, walks with Gollad County, Texas, Sheriff Roy Boyd at the border in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Jan. 3. Maloy briefed state lawmakers about recent visits to the border during a meeting Monday. (Office of Rep. Celeste Maloy)


Save Story
Leer en español

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Celeste Maloy accused the federal government of shirking its duties to protect the southern border, leaving the burden to county sheriffs located along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The congresswoman recounted a pair of trips she recently took to the southern border to the Utah Legislature's Organized Crime Subcommittee Monday at the state Capitol in Salt Lake City. She also called on the federal government to do a better job of coordinating with states when it comes to border enforcement.

"One of the things that I found really disturbing there in Arizona is that the federal government has left so much of this to the states and the counties when it's not their job," she told the committee. "It's the federal government's job. ... I don't know that there's anyone left in the country that disputes that we have a problem at the border. I don't know that there are very many people left who would argue that enforcing our laws at the border is the solution, and while we're working on making that happen, let's make sure we're coordinating between state and federal to deal with the problems that come up as a result of that."

The congresswoman praised local sheriffs in Arizona and Texas for "stepping up" when it comes to border enforcement, but said "they shouldn't be having to do it."

"We say it all the time, but it's true: Every state is a border state," she said. "Now, if ... Texas and Arizona can't hold that line, then people end up here. ... This isn't a border state or a border county problem. It is also a Utah problem."

Maloy addressed the committee alongside Weber County Sheriff Ryan Arbon, who visited the Arizona-Mexico border last month. Arbon and Maloy focused on border security, while lawmakers were also briefed on human trafficking and other organized crime in the state.

When asked by Rep. Trevor Lee, R-Layton, about recent news that Denver has paid travel costs to Salt Lake City for 59 migrants in the past month, Maloy said she was "just recently made aware of it as well, probably about the same time that you started hearing about it."

She said other states "are hearing that Utah has room — which we don't," an apparent issue she is working to remedy along with her fellow colleagues in Utah's House delegation. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox on Friday said the state's resources are "completely depleted," and a spokesman for Salt Lake City said city officials are working with the state to communicate the lack of resources to other states.

"We also don't have any detention facilities," Maloy said, referring to facilities for undocumented immigrants. "So if they're sending migrants to Utah and they happen to be criminals, we don't have bed space for housing criminals. We don't have bed space for housing families, like in a homeless shelter. So, we're trying to make sure that everybody knows that we don't have room here."

"If they're hearing that, they're hearing it incorrectly," she added.

Maloy said she has been working to get a study to examine the feasibility of adding an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in the Intermountain West, "so that we can process people when they get here, so that we remove that incentive for places like Denver to ship their problems here."

Related stories

Most recent Utah congressional delegation stories

Related topics

Utah congressional delegationUtah LegislatureImmigrationUtahPoliticsSalt Lake County
Bridger Beal-Cvetko covers Utah politics, Salt Lake County communities and breaking news for KSL.com. He is a graduate of Utah Valley University.

STAY IN THE KNOW

Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the KSL.com Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast