Arizona Senate candidates spar on border security, illegal immigration

Oct 6, 2022, 9:27 PM | Updated: Oct 7, 2022, 10:31 am
Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, left, Republican candidate Blake Masters, middle, Libertarian c...

Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, left, Republican candidate Blake Masters, middle, Libertarian candidate Marc Victor, right, pause on the stage prior to a televised debate for the Arizona Senate race in Phoenix, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — The security of Arizona’s southern border and the state’s illegal immigration issues were hot topics Thursday night in the debate among U.S. Senate candidates Mark Kelly, Blake Masters and Marc Victor.

The three men are vying for the Arizona Senate seat that is up for election next month.

The candidates, prompted by moderator Ted Simons at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School PBS Studio, clashed on border security and illegal immigration for nearly 10 minutes of the hourlong debate.

“I’ve spent a lot of time at our southern border and let me just say it’s a mess,” Kelly, the Democratic incumbent, said. “It’s chaos. It’s crisis after crisis. I worked in Washington to bring more border patrol agents to the state of Arizona, a billion dollars for staffing and security and monitoring systems … I’ve worked hard to make sure that we have the money so we have more border patrol agents on the ground, and that’s what we have today.”

Masters, the Republican candidate, was not impressed. At one point, he boldly asked Kelly to step down from office as a result of the border crisis. He claimed 5 million migrants have come through Arizona during Kelly’s tenure in the Senate.

“We have a wide open southern border, so if that’s the best you can do, I respectfully request you resign and let’s get someone in the seat who will actually secure our border,” Masters said.

He then went as far as to say that Kelly isn’t even trying to secure the border and that if members of the Mexican drug cartels were allowed to vote in this election they’d pick Kelly.

His solution?

“I think we should secure the border,” Masters said. “That means a wall. That means doubling the size of our border patrol, and it means let’s get back to deporting people who try to break into our country.”

Kelly said Masters would be unable to secure the border if elected because he doesn’t have the personality to function in a bipartisan environment.

“My opponent doesn’t want to work with anybody,” Kelly said. “He doesn’t even want to work with Republicans. He calls Democrats ‘psychopaths’ and (says) that they’re ‘evil.’ That’s not been the spirit of how Arizona senators work to the benefit of our state and our country.”

In response, Masters said: “You can’t work with Democrats like Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer and Mark Kelly. There’s something very wrong with people who don’t want to enforce federal law, who don’t believe in borders. Apparently, they don’t believe in our national sovereignty because they’ve turned over the entire border zone to Mexican drug cartels and it is killing people. It is killing Arizonans and ruining our state. It’s ruining our country.”

Victor, a Libertarian, said administration after administration has failed to secure the border.

“I’m in favor of a comprehensive overhaul of the entire immigration policy,” Victor said.

He added, “The vast majority of people who come here are great people. They come here to work to pursue the American dream. But, they should get nothing when they come here besides the right to peacefully pursue their happiness … I’m very pro-immigration. It’s good for America.”

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

Police investigate Phoenix hit-and-run that left pedestrian dead

Police are investigating a Phoenix hit-and-run after a pedestrian crossing the street was killed on Sunday evening.
22 hours ago
Katie Hobbs, the Democratic governor-elect and current secretary of state, signs the official certi...

Arizona Sec. of State Hobbs requests recount of 3 election races

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs requested on Monday evening a recount of three general election races.
22 hours ago
(File Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Fugitive since 2013 arrested in Mexico, extradited to Arizona

The FBI says a fugitive wanted for his involvement in a criminal drug enterprise has been extradited from Mexico and returned to Tucson.
22 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Morgan Wallen)...

Country artist Morgan Wallen to perform next year at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix

Country artist Morgan Wallen announced last week an upcoming stop in the Valley for his 2023 world tour.
22 hours ago
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)...
Danny Shapiro

Ron Wolfley expects Patriots to corner Kyler Murray, run the ball against Cardinals

Cardinals radio personality and Arizona Sports host Ron Wolfley has ideas on how the Patriots will play the Cardinals next Monday.
22 hours ago
Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel, left, signs the official Arizona general elect...
Kevin Stone

Arizona certifies 2022 election, setting stage for lawsuits, recounts

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs certified the state's 2022 general election Monday, but it doesn’t close the books on the midterms.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Arizona Senate candidates spar on border security, illegal immigration