Tohono O'odham leader says National Guard deployment is a necessary step, but not on tribal land

Published: Tuesday, December 19, 2023 - 5:05am

Tribal leaders of the Tohono O'odham Nation say they’re in touch with Arizona over the National Guard deployment along the border, but troops won’t be deployed on tribal land. 

The border-split tribe's land runs along the U.S.-Mexico border for about 60 miles. Its ancestral land includes parts of northern Mexico and some tribal members still live there today.

Several places along the border have seen high numbers of migrants in the last several weeks. That includes the Tohono O’odham Nation’s San Miguel Gate — a small border crossing used only by tribal members where mostly migrant women and families have been gathering lately. 

Gov. Katie Hobbs says she’s deploying National Guard troops along parts of the border to help respond to that uptick in arrivals and the Lukeville Port of Entry closure. 

Tohono O’odham Chairman Verlon Jose says that’s a necessary step, but it won’t take place on tribal land. He says Congress should pass immigration legislation and direct resources to the border to help. 

PoliticsFronterasTribal Natural Resources