/ Modified feb 2, 2023 8:53 p.m.

Dannels tells Congress Cochise County is not the same as Texas border

He hopes change will come but he doesn't expect it soon.

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Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Wednesday and now says that while he's hopeful for change to border policy, he says immediate change isn’t likely.

Dannels says he was invited by Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, who’s the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee. He said that he wanted to highlight the unique challenges that Cochise County faces.

“We're a rural community here in Cochise County and everybody likes to compare us to El Paso,” Dannels said after his testimony Thursday afternoon. “We're not an El Paso, and I say that respectively, not in a negative way …

“They have a plethora of resources, technology, staffing that I don't see in rural Cochise County,” he continued. “So, I wanted to make sure they understood that what's going on in Cochise County is different. Number one: because we deal with the fight and flight, we don't deal with the give-ups. Second of all: as a limited rural county with limited resources, both the state and local level and then the depletion of our federal resources, we need their help.”

When asked if he thought that change will be quick on the horizon, Dannels said “Historically, I would say no. But I also want to say I have hope.”

He said he wants to see bipartisan Congressional support, he wants to see the president come out with a message that highlights the need for a secure border; additionally, he said he wants a shared action plan “that has consequences, that supports the rule of law.”

He also said, “We need to stop the false narrative. And what I mean by that, quit putting out that the border is effectively managed, effectively secured, and managed. That's not true. It's just not true. So, we want to make sure that the messaging is a collective message that we all can agree upon. That's the first thing I do is recognize that we can do better.”

“If we can do that and get the politics out of it, this border will look different,” he concluded. “Secure the border, polish up immigration reform, and then let's go down the road together.”

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