Arizona Sen. Kelly sees end of COVID border policy as ‘crisis on top of a crisis’

Apr 6, 2022, 8:07 AM

Migrants released by the Border Patrol with notices to appear in court, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, in ...

Migrants released by the Border Patrol with notices to appear in court, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, in Somerton, Ariz., wait for COVID-19 testing at a Regional Center for Border Health warehouse before being taken by charter bus to the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. For nationalities that don't need a visa, Mexico is often the ticket to seeking asylum in the United States. (AP Photo/Elliot Spagat)

(AP Photo/Elliot Spagat)

PHOENIX – U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona said Wednesday the Biden administration’s decision to lift a public health ban on asylum seekers at the southern border soon “is a really bad idea” for now.

“It’ll be a crisis on top of a crisis,” Kelly told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News, adding he told the White House, “This is a really bad idea; it’s the wrong decision.”

President Joe Biden announced last Friday that he will do away with the Trump-era Title 42, a pandemic border policy, starting May 23.

Kelly and fellow Arizona Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema have both spoken out against the end of the policy, which was put into place in March 2020, and each has questioned how the effort will be planned and coordinated.

“That’s why, right now, Title 42 should not be lifted. That doesn’t mean it would never be lifted,” said Kelly, who is up for reelection this year.

Under the health order, there were more than 1.7 million expulsions in 2021, according to data from Customs and Border Protection.

“This was put in place because of a public health crisis. It’s important … to make sure we’re protecting the communities on the southern border, protecting folks that work at CPB and also protecting the migrants,” Kelly said.

He said he speaks frequently with Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on the matter.

“We’re a country of immigrants, but it needs to be orderly. It can’t be chaos and a crisis at our southern border,” Kelly said.

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Arizona Sen. Kelly sees end of COVID border policy as ‘crisis on top of a crisis’