A state of emergency (search) is usually declared during natural disasters, war and other situations of extreme civil unrest. But two states believe illegal immigration and the crimes associated with it also can justify such a declaration.
The governors of Arizona and New Mexico declared states of emergency because, they said, drug smuggling, human trafficking and overall crime have been out of control thanks to illegal immigration.
Both Gov. Janet Napolitano (search) of Arizona and Gov. Bill Richardson (search) of New Mexico accused the federal government of neglect in protecting their states from illegal immigrants crossing the border.
The August declarations made a couple million dollars of state money available to certain counties in Arizona and New Mexico. Most of it went to local police and sheriffs' departments for new equipment and overtime funds for officers to deal with criminal activity.
Some praised the governors for what they did, saying they brought national attention to a serious problem and helped get more resources where they’re needed.
Others say declaring a state of emergency was unnecessary and believe the leaders of Arizona and New Mexico have been exaggerating the problem.
Click in the video box at the top of the story to watch a full report by FOX News’ Anita Vogel.