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US House candidate Tipirneni says Congress must address immigration

(KTAR Photo/Matt Bertram)

PHOENIX – Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, an Arizona Democratic congressional hopeful, said Tuesday that recent events are highlighting the fact that Congress needs to act on immigration reform.

On Monday, the Trump administration announced plans to deploy more than 5,000 active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to prepare for an approaching caravan of several thousand Central American migrants.

“If they [the troops] are basically providing manpower that they feel that they need to keep our border secure, I have no problem with that,” Tipirneni told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos.

“I don’t anticipate this being a military issue. … We’re talking about folks who are seeking asylum; we’re not talking about a military brigade.”

Tipirneni said the bigger issue is the need for clear legislative action on immigration reform.

“We are a nation of immigrants. We have to discuss how we’re going to allow people to immigrate to our country,” she said.

“What are we going to do? How are we going to provide them a path if we are? How do we deal with asylum seekers?”

Tipirneni said there aren’t enough resources for border security – citing a lack of manpower and equipment — but President Donald Trump’s idea to build a wall isn’t the answer.

She said that despite all the publicity about large migrant caravans, border crossings declined from 1.6 million in 2010 to 300,000 last year.

“And 300,000 is still a lot of people, don’t get me wrong, but we have to base our legislative actions on facts,” she said.

She also pointed out that a wall won’t help with the growing problems of immigrants overstaying visas or drugs coming into the country through ports of entry.

“It’s not just random holes in the fencing, so we have to make sure that those points of entry are appropriately manned and staffed and resourced so we can keep that from coming in,” she said.

Tipirneni’s race against Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko is a rematch of the special election to replace Trent Franks, who stepped down in December following allegations that he offered staffers millions of dollars to serve as surrogates.

In April, Lesko defeated Tipirneni in the 8th Congressional District by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent.

Trump carried the district, which includes suburbs west and north of Phoenix, by 21 points in 2016.

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