Governor Ducey Calls On Social Media Companies To Crack Down On Cartel Recruiting That Glamorizes Human Smuggling Across The Border 

News Release

May 11, 2022

Governor Also Announces Additional Action On The Border

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey is calling on the leaders of social media companies to step up and take action to protect youth from cartel recruiting messages luring them into transnational human smuggling activity. 

In a letter to the leaders of four social media companies, Governor Ducey called on the companies to do a better job at monitoring their platforms and preventing them from being exploited by cartels. The Governor wrote:

“Cartels [are] preying on those seeking refuge for a better life, and facilitating the flow of drugs into American communities. And ⁠— these criminals are using your companies’ social media platforms to make it happen.”

Transnational criminal organizations and cartels are capitalizing on misguided policies and lack of action by the federal government to smuggle dangerous drugs, weapons, vulnerable people and more over the border.

Social media serves as the recruiting method for these criminals. Arizona law enforcement has tracked posts and messages that mislead American citizens, who are often young, glamorizing a lifestyle made possible by human smuggling pay days. 

In a story last week in the Sierra Vista Herald, Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels described social media posts offering drivers $2,000 per person to take over the border illegally and ways to evade law enforcement. Sheriff Dannels’ office partnered with Border Patrol, the Arizona Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement to crack down on erratic drivers bringing migrants over the border, but have seen the cartels offering to pay more money and “entice drivers to take their chances with law enforcement.”

In the letter to social media companies, the governor outlined the steps they can take to curb illegal activity on their platforms.

“Your companies have established reporting mechanisms for criminal behavior, but we need stronger action to prevent this activity that is drawing our young people into a life of crime. Inaction only enables cartels to victimize countless youth and families. This crisis presents a real opportunity for you and your companies to take action and make a difference.”

The governor and law enforcement have worked closely to direct resources to mitigate this problem. Most recently, following a meeting with county sheriffs at the end of April, Governor Ducey signed legislation to crack down on human smuggling. 

These social media recruitment efforts lure teens and young adults into life-threatening smuggling operations way beyond what any child should experience. They are told to break traffic laws to evade police, endangering themselves, passengers and law enforcement – as seen at the end of April when a Phoenix teenager was involved in an attempted human smuggling operation that turned deadly.

“I applaud Governor Ducey for reaching out to social media companies to stop this criminal activity,” said Pinal County Sheriff Lamb. “Most Americans do not realize how blatantly the cartels are utilizing social media platforms to recruit young Americans to participate in dangerous drug and human smuggling. Cracking down on cartel operations is a team effort. We’re all Americans – we need to band together to stop transnational criminal organizations at every turn.”

Additional Border-Related Actions

In addition to the letter, the governor announced additional actions aimed at enhancing border security and alleviating the impact of an unsecure border on Arizona communities. The efforts are made possible by use of the Border Security Fund, which was established in 2021 in partnership with the Arizona Legislature.

  • The Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA) is sending additional National Guard personnel to assist DPS with efforts to counter human smuggling. The service members will provide data analysis and administrative assistance, collaborating with Arizona Border Strike Force analysts at the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC). 

  • With Arizona community resources under all-time demand, and little action or assistance from the federal government, individuals who entered Arizona seeking asylum have the opportunity to voluntarily be transported to Washington, D.C. The transportation will include meals, and onboard staffing and support.

  • DEMA and the Department of Agriculture are actively working with farmers and other landowners along the southern border to provide support to secure their property from the influx of migrant crossings. 


On April 19, Governor Ducey and 25 other governors launched the American Governors' Border Strike Force, a partnership to do what the federal government won’t: secure the southern border. Governors Ducey and Abbott joined Martha MacCallum on Fox News to talk about the initiative that same day. 

On April 1, Governor Ducey called on the Biden administration to maintain Title 42 to protect public health and safety. 

In his January State of the State address, Governor Ducey proposed the idea for the American Governors' Border Strike Force. He said, “Texas Governor Greg Abbott and I are teaming up to form the American Governors' Border Strike Force – a commitment between states to do what the Biden administration is unwilling to do: Patrol and secure our border.”

On November 30, 2021, Governor Ducey sent a team of the state’s top law enforcement officers to meet with their counterparts in Texas to discuss the current border crisis, share best practices, and discuss future partnerships, including the American Governors’ Border Strike Force. The delegation included Major General Kerry Muehlenbeck, Department of Public Safety Director Heston Silbert and Department of Homeland Security Director Tim Roemer. 

On October 6, 2021, Governor Ducey joined Governor Abbott and eight other governors in Mission, Texas, for a border security briefing and press conference, where they detailed a ten-point plan for the Biden administration to resolve the border crisis.

On September 20, 2021, Governor Ducey and 25 fellow governors requested an urgent meeting with President Biden to find meaningful solutions to the border crisis. Their hope was to meet with the president and his team directly to discuss actions the administration can take. Secretary Mayorkas responded two months later on November 24, but has not taken meaningful actions.

In July 2021, Governor Ducey successfully lobbied the Biden administration to continue Title 42 border protections and called on Congress to protect Title 42 from future Biden interference.

On June 10, 2021, Governor Ducey and Governor Abbott sent a letter to all U.S. governors asking them to send available law enforcement resources to the border. 

On May 11, 2021, Governor Ducey joined 19 fellow governors to call on President Biden and Vice President Harris to reverse their destructive border policies.

On April 20, 2021, ​​Governor Ducey issued a Declaration of Emergency and deployed the Arizona National Guard to the state’s southern border to support local law enforcement efforts.