McSally, Sinema think asylum process must be changed to slow immigration

Apr 18, 2019, 4:30 PM | Updated: 6:07 pm
(AP Photos)...
(AP Photos)
(AP Photos)

PHOENIX — Both U.S. senators from Arizona agreed Thursday that the process of claiming asylum needs to be changed to address the crisis at the border.

Republican Sen. Martha McSally told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos that Congress needs to change the way asylum claims are processed.

“So many people are taking advantage of the low threshold in that initial interview. They know all they have to say is ‘I have a credible fear,’ and they’re put now into the asylum process, they’re then released into the interior of the United States,” she said.

“Raise the threshold in that initial interview. … Let’s get some judges down to the border, process them in a faster time frame, so that we don’t have all these false asylum claims that are really allowing people to disappear.”

In a separate interview, Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema told Mac & Gaydos that she met with an agent during her recent tour of the border who said asylum claims need to be dealt with much more quickly.

“His suggestion was to get specialized asylum officers at the ports of entry and bring down hundreds of more immigration judges to quickly process these cases so that individuals who do not qualify for asylum can be put on planes and sent back to their home countries,” she said.

She said if there aren’t enough judges, some attorneys can be given temporary judicial status, which could help with the backlog.

Both senators said current laws are being exploited by human smugglers, who see this as a path to gaining people entrance into the country.

“People in these countries are being told that they can come to the U.S. and apply for asylum and it’s a way to get into the country,” Sinema said.

“I believe if we were able to process these cases quickly … put people on planes, send them back to their home country, it would send a clear message to the criminal syndicates who are running these operations that this is not an effective way to get people into the United States of America.”

McSally said no matter how hard it is for Congress to come to an agreement, they must keep working.

“What I’m taking about with loophole laws I think would be a consensus issue with Republicans, and I think Democrats who are looking at this reasonably would realize they need to vote on this,” she said.

“So we could close those loopholes tomorrow with emergency legislation … and it would change the pull factor.”

Sinema said she doubts if lawmakers will be able to come to a solution.

“Finding a legislative solution where you have to get Congress to pass a law is going to be difficult given the brokenness of this Congress,” she said.

But both senators agreed that the situation at hand is urgent and needs to be acted on as soon as possible.

“I think most Americans would agree we are facing a crisis,” Sinema said.

“And while Arizona is seeing less of an influx of these migrants … than California and Texas, it’s still overwhelming our system and overwhelming our local communities.”

McSally also said she believes most Americans view the situation as a “crisis.”

“You don’t cut the line. We have a very robust, legal immigration system, but we’ve got to stop this nonsense from happening,” she said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(CVS Health Photos)...

Affordable housing development in south Phoenix holds grand opening

UMOM New Day Centers held a grand opening ceremony Wednesday for an affordable housing development in south Phoenix.
22 hours ago
This Spicy Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich is part of the new food menu approved by the NFL for the S...
Brandon Brown/Phoenix Business Journal

First look: State Farm Stadium ups the ante on Super Bowl food, beverage offerings

Those attending the NFL’s championship game, which will be played in Glendale on Sunday, can expect an elevated food and beverage menu.
22 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/City of Mesa Police Department)...

4 Mesa children reported missing found in Texas, father arrested

Four Valley children who were reported missing earlier this week were found safe in Texas, authorities said Wednesday. 
22 hours ago
(Phoenix Police Department Photo)...

Phoenix woman who was subject of December Silver Alert found safe

Authorities canceled a Silver Alert for a missing Phoenix woman on Wednesday, two months after it was issued.
22 hours ago
(AP Photo/Matt York)...
Danny Shapiro

Spending limit lifted this year for Arizona public schools after Senate vote

The aggregate expenditure limit for public schools this year was lifted Wednesday, allowing districts to avoid massive budget cuts.
22 hours ago
Disturbed (Live Nation Photo)...

Disturbed to hit Phoenix this summer on Take Back Your Life Tour

It's going to be sick when Disturbed brings its brand of chugging heavy metal to Phoenix's Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre this summer.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
McSally, Sinema think asylum process must be changed to slow immigration