Matt Salmon’s Desperate Stunt: The Border Tent City Idea

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Matt Salmon, a candidate in the Republican race for governor in Arizona, has suggested building a ‘Tent City’ on the U.S.-Mexico border to house immigrants, a move critics see as a desperate stunt. The proposed border Tent City would be similar to a controversial outdoor jail built in 1993 by former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, which cost taxpayers millions and was later shut down. Salmon’s proposal has been criticized by Republican frontrunner Kari Lake, who argues that immigrants should be turned back at the border rather than housed at Arizona taxpayers’ expense.

Matt Salmon’s Tent City Proposal: A Desperate Stunt or a Feasible Solution?

The proposal of a Tent City by Matt Salmon, to house immigrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border, appears desperate. Salmon, trailing in the Republican race for governor behind Kari Lake and Karrin Taylor Robson, needed to make a bold statement.

Tent City isn’t a new concept, nor Salmon’s idea, as he sought guidance from the creator of the infamous outdoor jail – former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. However, Arpaio’s opinion holds little sway these days, making Salmon appear desperate in his competition against Lake and Robson.

Arpaio’s Tent City: A Costly Endeavor

Salmon’s solution to curb the influx of foreigners seeking asylum at the border is to establish Tent City jails, financed by Arizona taxpayers. The border Tent City would mirror Arpaio’s 1993 response to overcrowded jails, a symbol of his 24-year reign that ended up costing taxpayers millions.

The current Sheriff, Paul Penzone, eliminated Tent City after taking over from Arpaio, saving around $4.5 million. Yet, Arpaio and Salmon believe investing in a new Tent City is timely.

Putting aside the financial aspect, how would a border Tent City help slow the migrant surge? Salmon and Arpaio argue that it would send a clear message to illegal immigrants that trespassing into the state would lead to arrest as space wouldn’t be an issue.

Is the GOP Really Serious About Border Security?

Interestingly, Kari Lake, the Republican frontrunner, quickly dismissed Salmon’s proposal, questioning why Arizonans should pay to house illegal border crossers instead of turning them back at the border.

While understanding that as governor, Lake would not have the authority to deport immigrants, which is a federal government function, her comments make Salmon’s proposal seem ludicrous.

The influx of immigrants is a serious issue, and the Biden administration should devise better methods to handle the increasing number of asylum seekers. However, Salmon and other Republican contenders, by proposing a Tent City and usurping federal immigration authority, show a lack of seriousness about border security.

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