Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: Biden administration ‘short-changing’ Arizona border communities

Sep 7, 2023, 4:04 PM | Updated: 5:59 pm

Kyrsten Sinema...

U.S Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. (Photo by Brian Stukes/Getty Images)

(Photo by Brian Stukes/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona expressed her frustration on how the Biden administration is allocating funding to address the border crisis.

“You know this is been the story of our entire lifetimes is the federal government’s failure to address the crisis at our border and Arizona. In particularly small border communities in Arizona. I have been bearing the brunt of this crisis,” Sinema said in an interview Thursday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show.

So far this year, more than 1.6 million migrants have been encountered by U.S. Border Patrol with the Tucson sector seeing over 270,000.

Sinema explained the Tucson sector is frequently seeing the highest numbers of Migrant encounters across the Southwest border.

While encounters have decreased by over 9% overall at the U.S.-Mexico border compared to 2022, the Tucson sector has seen a nearly 30% increase, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The El Paso sector saw nearly a 60% increase.

“And despite the fact that we’re getting these very high numbers of crossings, every single day,” Sinema said.

“The Tucson sector’s main service providers, so the non-governmental organizations, the non-profits that are helping migrants after they get across the border and making sure they’re not staying at our small border towns like Naco and Douglas, they only got $11 million dollars worth of federal funding that, I thought so hard to get allocated in the last two rounds of funding.”

Biden administration criticized

In June, Sinema, Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly and senators from New Mexico and California issued a statement criticizing the Biden Administration for underfunding Southwest border communities.

Instead of providing border communities with critical funding for shelter, transportation and emergency services, the administration awarded New York City over $100 million, according to the statement.

“I have talked about this directly with the chief of staff at the White House. I talked about it, with the leaders of the Democratic party, in both the House, and the Senate, both of whom are from New York City. I’ve talked about it with my colleagues, most of whom have never had the opportunity to see what’s happening on our actual border and, you know, it’s been crickets guys.”

Sinema voiced how hard they worked to get the funding into the budget with language in the bill saying it would help pay for the cost of the influx of migrants at the border. Sinema explained that she addressed this with President Biden’s Chief of Staff.

“I actually recently addressed this issue with President Biden’s, chief of staff and pointed out the absurdity of giving $108 million to New York City and only $11 million to Tucson even though we’re experiencing the highest rate of border crossings in the Southwest region,” she said.

“It’s also South Texas because southern Arizona and South Texas, are the two regions where migrants are entering, literally over a thousand a day. And yet we’re seeing this money besides into way by the administration, they are just short-changing border communities and it’s incredibly frustrating.”

Sinema said she is building a coalition to rectify the situation and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Is Sinema running for Senate again?

When asked if she was running again on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show, Sinema said she is not making an announcement.

“I know Arizona’s won’t be surprised when I remind everyone that I’m still focused on the work that we’re doing and there’ll be plenty of time for politics and elections later,” she said.

“I’ve been a senator for about four and a half years now, and as you guys have seen, I’ve gotten a whole lot of work done for families and businesses across Arizona, but I’ve got more to do.”

Sinema left the Democratic party in December 2022 and registered as an Independent.

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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: Biden administration ‘short-changing’ Arizona border communities