Arizona’s Sinema says Biden administration not taking steps to stem flow of migrants

Mar 10, 2022, 4:25 AM | Updated: 11:21 am

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Pool/Getty Images)...

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Pool/Getty Images)


PHOENIX — Democratic U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona criticized the Biden administration following a roundtable on the southern border Wednesday, saying nothing has been done to stem the flow of migrants.

“Nothing, there’s not been any active steps to stem the flow of migrants from the border,” Sinema said in a press conference. “One of the things I’ve been working on with my colleagues in both parties is to discuss the fact that the current flow is unsustainable.

“D.C. has shown little regard for the actual crisis that’s occurring in Arizona, and we know that. We’ve paid the price for the federal government’s failure to fix our broken immigration system for most of my lifetime.”

Sinema, who is chair of the U.S. Senate subcommittee on border management, met with stakeholders on the front line managing the migrant crisis. This included officials from immigration and customs enforcement, border patrol, non-governmental organizations that provide humanitarian aid, as well as leaders from Sky Harbor International Airport and Greyhound Lines to talk about operational challenges.

She said one of the challenges that were discussed at the roundtable is the month-over-month increase of migrants presenting themselves at ports of entry along the southern border, learning that has been occurring each month over the past year.

Chris Clem, chief of the Yuma Sector Border Patrol, told Sinema he is processing over 1,000 migrants each morning.

“We do not have the person-power to do that work,” Sinema said. “Our CBP officers are stretched incredibly thin at our ports of entry.”

Border patrol agents have also told Sinema they are spending less than 10% of their time on patrol as they transport a record number of individuals who approach the border between ports of entry.

Sinema added non-governmental organizations that help migrants are facing capacity concerns. A number of migrants have also been traveling to Sky Harbor Airport recently without finalized travel preparations. She said this has resulted in staff of the airport, who are not trained in providing short-term humanitarian support, assisting migrants.

The bipartisan $1.5 trillion government funding bill includes $150 million that Sinema says will be used to help non-governmental organizations and border communities assist federal agencies to manage the ongoing challenges at the border.

“This funding is emergency relief but as we know it doesn’t solve the crisis we are facing at the border,” Sinema said.

Sinema said she is working with other senators to increase the number of border patrol agents in the southern region and adjust salary and benefits to retain qualified officers, propose legislation that would create regional processing centers to reduce the pressure on border communities, as well as create opportunities to deter people by communicating that coming to the border does not guarantee a long-term stay in the country.

“The administration does need to take action, the last administration also failed in this effort, take action to curb the flow of traffic that is coming from other countries,” Sinema said. “There hasn’t been as much movement on this as those of us in border states like Arizona and Texas have been calling for for many years.”

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

Police investigating 3-car crash that killed man in north Phoenix

The Phoenix Police Department is investigating a deadly three-car collision that left one man dead and sent two others to the hospital.

2 hours ago

Attorney General Kris Mayes speaking to crowd...

Payne Moses

Arizona AG Kris Mayes sues Cummins, FCA for false clean emission claims of truck engines

Attorney General Kris Mayes filed a lawsuit against Cummins, Inc. and FCA US, LLC on Thursday for allegedly scamming Arizonans on advertised clean emission vehicles.

5 hours ago

A storm that blew in on Sunday forced a ground stop at Sky Harbor Airport. (ADOT photo)...

Weather system leaves thousands of Valley residents without power, grounds flights

Parts of the Valley received a spattering of rain, dust and wind on Sunday, leaving thousands without power and flights grounded.

6 hours ago

A five-mile stretch of SR-88 will be closed for flooding repairs. (ADOT photo)...

Contractor approved for project to restore limited access to State Route 88

ADOT announced Friday an approved contract for a project that aims to restore limited access to a five-mile stretch of State Route 88 damaged by flooding.

6 hours ago

Detours on southbound I-17 are expected this week near Bumble Bee Road. (ADOT photo)...

Overnight detours to begin Monday on southbound I-17 at Bumble Bee Road

Drivers traveling south on Interstate 17 north of Black Canyon City should plan for overnight detours beginning Monday, ADOT said.

7 hours ago

Joe Biden speaking at podium next to Kamala Harris...

Kelly endorses Harris for Democratic ticket, Arizona reacts to Biden withdrawing from 2024 race

President Joe Biden announced Sunday that he will not seek reelection after his first term as commander in chief ends in January 2025. U.S. Senator Mark Kelly  (D-Arizona) endorsed Harris on X as the prevailing name on the Democratic presidential ticket.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 storylines to get you revved up for the 2024 Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals training camp is just a couple weeks away starting on July 25, and Sanderson Ford is revved up and ready to go.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Arizona’s Sinema says Biden administration not taking steps to stem flow of migrants