ARIZONA NEWS

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema blasts Biden administration over handling of Title 42 end

May 11, 2023, 10:40 AM

Headshots of U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, left, and President Joe Biden...

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizon has been critical of how the Biden administration prepared for the end of Title 42 immigration restrictions. (Getty Images Photos)

(Getty Images Photos)

PHOENIX – U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema ripped the Biden administration’s handling of Thursday’s Title 42 immigration policy rollback, claiming cartels have more control of the southern border than the U.S. government.

“The reality is that the Biden administration had two years to prepare for this,” the Arizona independent told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday morning, about 12 hours before the COVID-era asylum restrictions were set to expire.

“They chose not to do so and I believe have dramatically underestimated the burden that Arizona will bear as a result of the end of Title 42.”

Asylum seekers have been showing up at the border in huge numbers in anticipation of the end of Title 42, a rule that has allowed the government to quickly expel migrants to Mexico in the name of public health.

“Title 42 hasn’t even ended, and already on the ground we’re seeing this crisis explode, and I expect it will get worse in the days to come. … There’s not a workable plan that has been offered or operationalized by the Biden administration,” Sinema said.

Sinema, chair of the Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management, said cartels have been able to exploit loopholes in federal border policy, creating dangerous situations in Arizona.

“The cartels are incredibly well-resourced and they’re very strategic, so they’re pushing people through different parts of the border at different times with different prices for different purposes, and they’re controlling what’s happening on the southern border, not the United States government,” she said.

Sinema said she has been working to drum up support for a legislation to reform the asylum system. As a stopgap, she recently introduced a bill to extend the Title 42 authority for two years without it being tied to COVID-19.

While acknowledging that Congress needs to take legislative action on immigration reform, Sinema said the Biden administration should be doing more to enforce the laws that exist and be prepared for a post-Title 42 surge.

“It is incredibly, incredibly disappointing that they have failed to do so and are leaving Arizona once again to shoulder the burden of this crisis,” she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema blasts Biden administration over handling of Title 42 end