Arizona Senate candidates spar on border security, illegal immigration

Oct 6, 2022, 9:27 PM | Updated: Oct 7, 2022, 10:31 am

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.”

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

This Spicy Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich is part of the new food menu approved by the NFL for the S...
Brandon Brown/Phoenix Business Journal

First look: State Farm Stadium ups the ante on Super Bowl food, beverage offerings

Those attending the NFL’s championship game, which will be played in Glendale on Sunday, can expect an elevated food and beverage menu.
18 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/City of Mesa Police Department)...

4 Mesa children reported missing found in Texas, father arrested

Four Valley children who were reported missing earlier this week were found safe in Texas, authorities said Wednesday. 
18 hours ago
(Phoenix Police Department Photo)...

Phoenix woman who was subject of December Silver Alert found safe

Authorities canceled a Silver Alert for a missing Phoenix woman on Wednesday, two months after it was issued.
18 hours ago
(AP Photo/Matt York)...
Danny Shapiro

Spending limit lifted this year for Arizona public schools after Senate vote

The aggregate expenditure limit for public schools this year was lifted Wednesday, allowing districts to avoid massive budget cuts.
18 hours ago
Disturbed (Live Nation Photo)...

Disturbed to hit Phoenix this summer on Take Back Your Life Tour

It's going to be sick when Disturbed brings its brand of chugging heavy metal to Phoenix's Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre this summer.
18 hours ago
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

Motorcyclist killed in late-night collision with SUV in Phoenix

A motorcyclist was killed in a collision near 35th Avenue and Camelback Road in Phoenix late Tuesday, authorities said.
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
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.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Arizona Senate candidates spar on border security, illegal immigration