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Sen. Mark Kelly says more help is on the way to the Arizona border

U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona meets with the Tucson Border Patrol Sector on Monday. (Courtesy photo/Office of Sen. Mark Kelly)

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona said Monday more help is on the way to the southern border amid an ongoing immigration surge.

Kelly told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad he was informed that 262 Department of Homeland Security personnel are coming from other parts of the country to assist with the response in Arizona, in addition to volunteers from other government agencies.

“What this does is it allows the border patrol agents here in southern Arizona to get away from their desks where they are doing administrative tasks,” Kelly said. “They have these folks to fill in for them, to get them back out into the field along the border so they can do their job securing Arizona’s southern border.”

The agents and officers will assist with processing and transporting migrants, according to Kelly’s office, in addition to other duties.

The Tucson sector will be receiving 117 DHS personnel and 74 volunteers, while 145 DHS personnel are headed to the Yuma sector.

Arizona’s southern border has been a focal point for Kelly, a Democrat, since taking office late last year and he has been talking to fellow Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration about the issue.

Kelly toured the Tucson Border Patrol Sector on Monday and has made two previous trips to the southern border since January.

“D.C. has failed Arizona on border security and immigration here for decades,” Kelly said. “Washington needs to do better and I’m going to continue to push Washington to do better.”

While Kelly is happy to see additional personnel coming to the border, the senator said more needs to be done and suggested deploying judges to southern Arizona so asylum seekers can get a more expedited hearing before an immigration judge.

“There are a tremendous number of positive steps that Washington could take and in some cases, we are seeing some of this,” Kelly said. “I think it’s a very positive thing that we are getting these increased number of personnel coming from other parts of the country.”

Border officials are also receiving help from the state itself as Gov. Doug Ducey issued a Declaration of Emergency on April 20 and announced the deployment of the National Guard to the state’s southern border to support local law enforcement efforts.

The Arizona State Emergency Council approved nearly $2.8 million last week to help fund the mission until the passage of the $25 million legislative appropriation.

Both Kelly and Arizona’s senior U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema supported the declaration and have requested the Biden administration reimburse the state for the deployment.

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