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US Sen. Sinema advocating for more border security other than a wall

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — The federal government is weeks away from facing another partial shutdown unless President Donald Trump and Congress can come to a solution on border security.

But U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is calling on her fellow lawmakers to come to a “practical, realistic solution” that goes beyond a wall.

“I believe that a physical barrier can and should be part to an overall solution to the border and immigration challenges that we face, but I do believe that it’s not enough,” Sinema told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos on Thursday.

“A wall by itself is an 18th century solution to a 21st century problem, and that’s why I support additional funding that also does things like beef up our Border Patrol staffing, make sure we have more border agents at our ports of entry and invest in things like technology, drones, cameras, towers, etc. that allow us to actually have situational control over the border region.”

On the same day that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said they captured nearly 254 pounds of fentanyl — their biggest bust of the drug ever — through an Arizona port of entry, Sinema said technology and more agents are needed to combat the drug problem.

“Those of us who actually live in a border state and people like me who grew up near the border, we know that we need to have a battery of solutions to address this problem, because the folks who are continuing to interfere with our border security aren’t just mom and pop folks anymore,” she said.

“These are very, very sophisticated, well-funded cartels that use money and technology to evade our border security. We need to make sure that we’re investing in technology to beat them back.”

The Arizona Democrat said she is worried that lawmakers will not be able to reach another funding deal by Feb. 15, the date set when Trump signed a short-term deal to reopen the government after a 35-day shutdown.

“There are too many people in Washington, D.C., who prefer their partisan talking points to actually getting stuff done,” Sinema said.

“Shutting down the government because you don’t get everything you want or exactly what you want is wrong. It’s irresponsible and it is never the right solution,” she added.

“It’s OK if it doesn’t have everything you want, what matters is it’s a practical, realistic solution that addresses border security in an authentic, meaningful and effective way.”

Sinema said another one of her priorities included locking down a deal for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era program that granted temporary work permits to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

Trump attempted to end the program in 2017, but federal courts nixed the plan, instead only allowing people to re-apply to the program.

“We do want to make sure that our DACA kids have the opportunity to continue working in the country,” Sinema said.

“As we all know, they’re a big part of Arizona’s economy and it’s my hope that we find a solution — whether it’s an agreement or an agreement down the road – that ensures that those kids can work and live in Arizona.”

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