Arizona’s Sinema, Kelly criticize Congress over lack of immigration action

Dec 21, 2022, 9:56 AM

During speeches Tuesday on the U.S. Senate floor, Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly took fellow lawmakers to task for failure to enact significant immigration reforms.

Sinema said she’s “disappointed” Congress didn’t pass any long-term solutions during the session that is about to end. She plans to bring a bipartisan group of her colleagues to Arizona next month for a first-hand look at the situation on the southern border.

“One of the first things I will do is convene a bipartisan group of senators who are willing and committed to get stuff done and bring them to the border to see what Arizonans see every day — because a crisis this big cannot be ignored,” said Sinema, who recently changed her affiliation from Democrat to independent.

Kelly called on federal lawmakers to “to work together to reform the broken immigration system.”

“There is a lot left to do and I’ll keep working with them towards a secure, humane and orderly process at our border,” the Democrat said.

“But ultimately, Congress needs to step up, too. We must do our jobs.”

Kelly said law enforcement and humanitarian organizations in southern Arizona are struggling to deal with record numbers of border crossings.

“This is unsustainable, and a change to the Title 42 authority now is only going to make those challenges worse,” he said.

Title 42 is a public-health rule used 2.5 million times since March 2020 to expel asylum seekers on the grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary order Monday to keep the pandemic-era limits in place. Before Roberts issued that order, the restrictions were slated to expire on Wednesday.

The Biden administration asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to delay the end of Title 42 until at least after Christmas.

Sinema said lifting Title 42 without adequate preparation would be “a humanitarian and security nightmare.”

“Already, our border towns can barely keep up with the demand from the overwhelming levels of immigration,” she said.

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Arizona’s Sinema, Kelly criticize Congress over lack of immigration action