Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona calls effort at border since end of Title 42 ‘remarkable’

May 19, 2023, 1:30 PM

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly said Friday that authorities and partners have been doing a “remarkable job” at the border since Title 42 immigration restrictions were lifted earlier this month.

“The Border Patrol and the nonprofits at the border have done a remarkable job coordinating with the federal government to try to manage this operational challenge,” the Arizona Democrat told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

Title 42, the asylum restrictions that allowed the U.S. to quickly turn back migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border during the COVID pandemic, ended May 11.

State and border community officials were concerned that the Biden administration wasn’t adequately prepared for the expected surge in border activity after the policy change, but the numbers actually declined since then.

“This is still unprecedented,” Kelly said. “The numbers, sure they’ve come down, but the challenges that we’re facing here, it’s been going on for decades. Numbers go up and down.”

In the lead-up to the end of Title 42, Kelly worked to secure $45.4 million in federal funding to help nonprofits and border communities support asylum seekers who are let into the country.

“This is one of these issues that’s really hard to solve, but border security is so important to me, it’s important to the state,” he said.

Kelly remains hopeful that Congress can pass immigration reform that ensures border security while treating migrants humanely, including a pathway to citizenship for migrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. The Democrat said those “Dreamers,” as they are commonly known, are “as American as my own two kids.”

“It’s really frustrating to think that we’ve left them in limbo for this period of time,” he said.

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Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona calls effort at border since end of Title 42 ‘remarkable’