Speaking exclusively to Fox News Digital after President Biden announced he will be visiting the southern border on Sunday, Sheriff Mark Lamb of Pinal County, Arizona, had some stern words for the president.
‘We’ve got to regain control of our southern border,’ said Lamb in a telephone interview late Thursday afternoon, stressing that the president ‘doesn’t understand the crisis.’
To start off with, the president — when he arrives at the southern border after many years of not visiting the border even when he was in a position of influence to do so, said Lamb — ‘must say he’s sorry to the men and women’ of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Lamb told Fox News Digital, and to all others in law enforcement who have worked hard to do their jobs under excruciatingly challenging conditions.
Added Lamb, ‘He’s also got to apologize to the American people’ — people who have lost loved ones to crime and drugs as a result of the porous border.
Then, said Lamb, ‘he’s got to get the real scoop if he really cares. Get the real story’ of what’s been going at the border, said the sheriff, who has long been active and outspoken about America’s border security issues.
‘I think this administration has been disrespectful to our Border agents because they haven’t had their backs,’ Lamb said of the Biden administration.
‘They haven’t appropriately staffed them. They’ve had them doing jobs that they weren’t designed to do. And they continue to show no outward support for them.’
Lamb said that America’s dedicated Border Protection agents ‘are doing a very tough job. And yet I’ve never heard [this administration] say ‘kudos’ once to them. So, I think as a leader — even if you don’t want to deal with border security, even if you want open borders — at least he [Biden] should recognize the men and women who are doing the job every day.’
‘I want to have success at the border. I don’t want Joe Biden to fail as a president. I don’t want America to fail.’
‘I think that’s the least they could do,’ said Lamb. ‘Recognizing their efforts would just be a small token, but it would go a long way.’
Biden on Thursday gave a major White House speech in which he announced expanded border measures — yet fumbled when discussing the replacement of Title 42, a public health law that has been used to deter migrants at the border.
The speech came days before Biden’s first visit as president to the southern border next week as his administration struggles to deal with a historic surge in migrants.
Lamb also told Fox News Digital that local officials who have been dealing with America’s southern border security issues day in and day out for a very long time are ‘very frustrated’ with what’s been going on at the border under this administration.
‘You may have people who are aligned with [it] who won’t say that publicly — but the rest of us are very frustrated,’ said Lamb.
Sheriff Lamb added, ‘If he fails to address where they’ve fallen short, then this will be just another PR opportunity. It will almost be as if they’re placating the American people and recognizing that they have two years to try to make it seem like they cared about border security — when, in reality, their actions say otherwise.’
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The sheriff added vehemently, ‘I want to have success at the border. I don’t want Joe Biden to fail as a president. I don’t want America to fail.’
This is why, he said, ‘I’m so passionate about border security. I’m also willing to help however I can.’
‘We also have the I-10 Interstate running through the heart of our county. And that is one of the main arteries for the Mexican cartels.’
He said that he ‘would be the best host if he [Biden] chose to come here’ — meaning to Pinal County, Arizona.
Lamb’s county is about 50-60 miles from the border, he said.
‘But on the south end of my county is an Indian reservation — and that reservation actually runs into Mexico. So under President Trump, we actually had more apprehensions during President Trump’s [administration] because they weren’t coming through the border checkpoints. We actually had more apprehensions in our county than the actual border counties were getting.’
A lot of people are more impacted by the problems right now related to America’s border security ‘by coming to our county’ and seeing what’s going on, said Lamb.
Lamb said they’ve ‘always had an issue’ in his area because ‘the cartels push the military-age men through there — that’s where they come in with the camouflage clothes’ and more.
‘We also have the I-10 Interstate running through the heart of our county. And that is one of the main arteries for the Mexican cartels, who are trafficking people and drugs into our country,’ he added.
‘We’re go out every morning and we pull over [these] vehicles — human-load vehicles, drug-load vehicles — every day,’ he said.
It’s constant, he said.
‘Our pursuits have increased by 250%,’ he said. ‘Our human-trafficking traffic stops have increased by 200%.’
‘So yes, this is a big problem for us — even though we’re not right on the border.’
A lot of people are more impacted by the problems right now related to America’s border security, he noted, ‘by coming to our county’ and seeing what’s going on.
That’s ‘because you’re seeing what’s happening 50, 60 miles inland’ from the border, said Sheriff Lamb.
Fox News Digital’s Bradford Betz contributed to this report.