Sen. Kyrsten Sinema explains details of bipartisan immigration bill

Dec 15, 2022, 11:03 AM
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)...
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

PHOENIX — Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona said Thursday that extending Title 42 is a key component for implementing wide-ranging changes to the nation’s immigration laws.

Sinema, who last week left the Democratic Party to become an independent, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show she’s been working on bipartisan immigration overhaul with Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

“The reality is that our immigration system is broken throughout,” Sinema said. “And so, this piece of legislation … represents a first step, but it doesn’t solve all of the immigration challenges we face in our country.”

The bill would extend Title 42 for a year, bolster Border Patrol staffing and pay, change the asylum process and provide a path to citizenship for so-called “Dreamers.”

Title 42, a policy that has been used to to expel certain migrants at the border since the Trump administration, will end soon if a court order stands and Congress doesn’t act.

“We all know that the current situation on the border is untenable,” said Sinema, who chairs the Senate’s Government Operations and Border Management Subcommittee.

“We know that it’s about to get worse as Title 42 ends due to a court order next week.”

Extending the policy for another year would provide time to implement other items in the bill.

“We do that because we know it will take time to set up changes to the asylum structure,” Sinema said.

Sinema said the asylum process needs to be changed to reduce the incentive for illegal immigration and catch up on a backlog of pending cases.

“We also end the employment visa backlog, which is really important because … many employers throughout the state tell me day in and day out that their number one challenge is finding qualified employees,” she said.

Sinema said the bill also addresses “Dreamers,” a term used for people who were brought into the country when they were children but don’t have legal status.

“Our bill would allow them to work and earn a path toward citizenship over the course of about 10 or 11 years,” she said.

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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema explains details of bipartisan immigration bill