ARIZONA NEWS

Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona calls Homeland Security on Yuma, border problems

Dec 15, 2021, 1:00 PM | Updated: 7:58 pm
(Rod Lamkey/Pool via AP)...
(Rod Lamkey/Pool via AP)
(Rod Lamkey/Pool via AP)

PHOENIX – Sen. Mark Kelly said the White House is aware of his unease over border issues – he put in a call to the Department of Homeland Security after a visit to Yuma, where the mayor declared a local emergency after thousands of migrants crossed into the city.

“This is overwhelming Border Patrol,” Kelly said Wednesday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

“This is not acceptable, we need more staffing, we need help,” Kelly said he told Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last week.

Homeland Security said it planned to recommit 110 agents to the area, Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls said last Friday, the day after he declared the emergency.

The declaration cited reports of over 6,000 migrants crossing from Mexico into the United States traveling through the Yuma area.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement and medical assistance arrived earlier this week, Kelly said.

“Washington has screwed up [border security] for decades,” Kelly said. “We got issues down there … I was looking at the gap in the fencing where migrants come through. That needs to be addressed.”

He said he was in the process of asking the White House to look into the issue, noting a 60-foot gap in fencing at the border in Yuma.

But a solution is not one size fits all, Kelly said.

“It’s not the same everywhere,” he said. “I think barriers, fencing, wall, whatever you want to call it, makes sense in some areas and in some areas it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

“It’s rather expensive and some areas of the border don’t get a lot of traffic. There are areas that are tribal issues, property rights issues.”

Kelly said President Joe Biden’s administration has responded to some aspects of the border woes.

“Mexico has changed some of its visa requirements for some countries. That should make a bit of difference.

“For decades, we’ve spent billions of dollars and we don’t have this problem under control.”

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Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona calls Homeland Security on Yuma, border problems