Biden’s border troops plan gets mixed reviews from Arizona politicians

May 4, 2023, 11:10 AM

In this 2018 file photo, a National Guardsman monitors activity in the field from Yuma Sector’s C...

In this 2018 file photo, a National Guardsman monitors activity in the field from Yuma Sector’s Communications Center. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection File Photo)

(U.S. Customs and Border Protection File Photo)

PHOENIX – The Biden administration’s plan to send 1,500 U.S. troops to the border to help handle an expected surge in migrant crossings when Title 42 ends next week is getting a mixed reaction from Arizona’s congressional delegation.

Under the plan revealed Tuesday, Army and Marine troops are being sent to handle data entry, warehouse support and other administrative tasks in an effort to manage overcrowding and other possible issues that might arise when the COVID-era Title 42 immigration restrictions end May 11.

The support is intended to allow U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel to focus on fieldwork.

Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, chair of the Senate Border Management Subcommittee, said the mobilization will help Arizona border communities, but it’s not enough.

“The administration must do more to enact a real, workable plan to secure our border, keep Arizonans safe and secure, and ensure migrants are treated fairly and humanely,” she said in a statement Tuesday.

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, who served in the Marines, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday the military has plenty to offer in these kinds of situations.

“It will help relieve Border Patrol and Customs so they can continue to do their everyday work,” said Gallego, who is running for Sinema’s seat next year.

“I think we should continue doing everything we can under the law as long as it’s helping these border communities release some of the pressure that they’re receiving from these migrant flows.”

Democratic Rep. Mark Kelly said he was glad to see the additional manpower heading to the border but wanted to know more about the plans.

“I look forward to being fully briefed on the details of this mission and will keep working with Arizona border leaders, Border Patrol and the administration to ensure an orderly, secure and humane response that does not burden our border communities,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko blamed the Democratic administration for creating the situation in the first place by mishandling the border situation.

“President Biden’s plan to send 1,500 active-duty troops to the southern border is just a band-aid for his failed, open border policies in the wake of the expiration of Title 42,” Lesko tweeted Wednesday.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Heidi Hommel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Biden’s border troops plan gets mixed reviews from Arizona politicians