Sen. Kyrsten Sinema unconvinced after grilling DHS officials about Title 42 plans

May 6, 2022, 4:05 AM

PHOENIX – During two hearings with Homeland Security officials this week, U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona expressed doubts that the Biden administration is adequately prepared for the aftermath of the end of Title 42.

Sinema grilled Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday and followed with pointed questions for several department officials on Thursday during Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearings.

The Democrat has been a vocal critic of how the Biden administration has gone about ending Title 42, which went into effect in March 2020 during the Trump administration. The policy, which has been used more than 1.8 million times to expel migrants on the grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19, is set to expire May 23.

Sinema was part of a bipartisan coalition along with fellow Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly that introduced a bill last month keep the policy in place until at least 60 days after the surgeon general ends the COVID public health emergency. The bill also would require DHS show Congress how it will handle the expected surge of migrants at the border after the policy change.

“Yesterday this committee heard from Secretary Mayorkas regarding the DHS plan for handling the expected influx of migrants,” Sinema said Thursday. “I have not heard the detail I need to be confident in the government’s plan.”

Sinema repeated concerns in both hearings that state and local governments have been left on the hook for sanitation, emergency services, medical care and other immigration-related expenses.

“Every time migration surges, Arizona communities pay the price for the federal government’s failures,” she said Wednesday.

On Thursday she mentioned problems caused by migrants being dropped off at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport without finalized travel plans, leaving airport staff to deal with the situation.

Sinema expressed her dissatisfaction on Thursday and submitted additional questions that she didn’t have time to ask.

“Promises and platitudes are not enough,” she said.

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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema unconvinced after grilling DHS officials about Title 42 plans