Mayorkas, Sinema discuss immigration policy as Title 42 nears end

May 7, 2023, 12:00 PM

PHOENIX — Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas joined “Face the Nation” defending the government’s decision to send 1,500 troops to the border ahead of Thursday when enforcement of the emergency immigration policy enforced during COVID-19 known as Title 42 ends.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was also featured on the program, answering questions for nearly 45 minutes on what the country and Arizona are doing to get ready for the expected flood of migrants at the southern border.

“We’ve been preparing for this for more than a year and a half, you are correct,” Mayorkas said. “It is indeed a regional challenge and it requires a regional response, which is why we are working so closely with many countries to the south.”

When asked about what she thinks of the federal government’s preparation ahead of Thursday, Sinema was clear:

“It has not been adequate,” she said.

Sinema said that she has been able to communicate with Mayorkas but it has not been as productive in terms of preparing for the end of the policy.

“I think that there’s a system in Washington, D.C. that is deeply disconnected from the real lives and experiences of border communities and the migrants who seek to come to this country,” Sinema said.

The number of migrants crossing into the U.S. is expected to rise from hundreds of people per day to thousands in just Yuma alone at the end of Title 42 on Thursday.

The COVID-related emergency policy limited asylum-seekers’ entry into the country.

In response, the U.S. government is sending troops to the southern border in anticipation of the surge.

“They will be dispersed as operational needs require,” Mayorkas said. “The deployment of active duty troops is not to do enforcement work, not to interact with the migrants, but to provide other support so that our border patrol agents can be out in the field doing the work.”

For Sinema, it is not enough.

“Having 1,500 troops along the U.S.-Mexico border is helpful. It is a border of over 2,000 miles though. So 1,500 troops isn’t gonna get the job done. That’s just the reality,” she said.

“Rent the buses. Hire the drivers. Build a soft-sided facility so that we can process individuals. We need more holding capacity. I mean, let’s be realistic here. And that’s what’s not – we’re not prepared for that.”

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Mayorkas, Sinema discuss immigration policy as Title 42 nears end