Arizona Congressman Who Represents Border District Declines to Answer, Walks Away When Asked If He’s Committed to Sealing Border Against Drug Traffic

By Edwin Mora | April 29, 2010 | 12:40 PM EDT

( - Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who represents a congressional district that includes 300 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, turned and walked away and did not answer when asked him whether he was committed to sealing the border against the influx of illegal drugs.
“Are you committed to sealing the border against the influx of illegal drugs?” asked Grijalva, who had stopped for an interview.
Rather than answer, Grijalva walked away, eventually shouting back at the reporter that it was “punkish” to ask the question. interviewed Grijalva as he left a press conference that had been called by a group of congressmen to protest a new Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officers to check whether someone is legally in the United States when they legally come into contact with a person and there is a reasonable basis to suspect the person is an illegal alien.
Grijalva’s U.S. congressional district includes parts of the city of Tucson as well as the stretch of U.S.-Mexico border that runs from the Arizona-California line to Nogales, Ariz. His official Web site says the district includes a longer stretch of the border than any U.S. congressional district other than the 23rd in Texas.
Grijalva has called for a targeted boycott of his own state. “I have not called for a general ‘boycott’ of Arizona,” he said Wednesday, while answering online questions from readers of The Washington Post. “I have called for a targeted ban on conventions and conferences in the state for a limited time. The idea is to send a message, not grind down the state economy.”
In late March, the National Drug Intelligence Center, which is a division of the Justice Department, released its National Drug Threat Assessment for 2010. The assessment said that 19 percent of Americans age 12 to 17 reported using illicit drugs in the previous year and that Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) have become the “predominant wholesale suppliers of illicit drugs in the United States.”
 “Mexican DTOs continue to represent the single greatest drug trafficking threat to the United States,” said the assessment.
Transcript of interview with Rep. Raul Grijalva (D.-Ariz.): Last year, The Justice Department reported that last year 19 percent of young adults age 12-17 used illicit drugs, much of which came through--
Rep. Grijalva: What does this have to do with our press conference today? Well, I just want to know. Are you committed to sealing the border against the influx of illegal drugs?
Rep. Grijalva: I-- [walks away] that has nothing to do with our press conference. Well it’s about the border sir.
Rep. Grijalva: That’s punkish.

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