Sen. Sinema talks new border bill, re-election on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday

Feb 4, 2024, 12:03 PM | Updated: 12:23 pm

PHOENIX — U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) was on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday to discuss the contents of an bipartisan border security deal she has been working on with senators James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

She said the target of the bill is to require an end to catch and release for migrants who come to the border seeking asylum and would allow the government to shut down the border at 4,000 crossings per day, instead of 5,000 a day, the total in which it currently sits.

“Our law actually requires the administration to implement these tools,” Sinema told host Margaret Brennan on Sunday. “So we’ve placed provisions in the law that mandate the enforcement of each of these provisions of our law, and require the Biden administration and any future administration to actually implement this. So we’re requiring it, not permitting it. And that’s a key difference from existing immigration law.”

Sinema explained that some asylum-seekers could wait “five, seven, 10 years” with catch and release before seeing a judge to hear their case. She said the trio’s plan offers two solutions to catch and release.

“First, short term detention, which means we take them into custody, and we actually do an interview right then and there to determine if they meet the standard for asylum,” Sinema said. “For individuals who do not meet that standard, which by the way, Margaret, is most of the migrants who are coming to our country right now, they’ll be swiftly returned to their home country.

“For folks that we can’t detain, like families, for instance, we’ll ensure that we’re supervising them over the course of just three months, and conduct that interview with that new higher standard, requiring them to show more proof early on about whether or not they qualify for asylum and return them to their country,” she continued. “If they do not have the evidence or the proof that they qualify for asylum.”

Economic migrants and the “American Dream”

Sinema decried “economic migrants” who she described as “individuals who want to come to America just to get a better life or to seek the American dream, to find work.”

“They are not permitted to enter the country whenever they would like, and our new law will ensure that they can’t get into the country, that they won’t get that notice to appear, they will not be allowed in through the border ports of entry, or between ports of entry … they will be turned away and sent back to their home countries,” Sinema said. “Because they currently are exploiting the asylum system that’s being really managed by the cartels. We’re ending that system. We’re ending that loophole and ensuring that they cannot enter through that manner.”

Is Sinema going to seek re-election?

Sinema faces a looming deadline of April 8 to gather 40,000 signatures to secure her place on the November 2024 ballot.

Once again, however, Sinema made no indication as to whether she has made a decision regarding November.

“I think that the endless questions about politics and elections are really exhausting, and it’s what makes Americans really hate politics,” Sinema said Sunday. “What I’ve committed to my constituents is to stay laser focused on the policy, on actually solving real problems. And that’s what I’ve shown that I do and the work that I do in the United States Senate. And it’s what I’ll stay focused on in the coming weeks as we seek to pass this legislation and make a real difference for the lives of Arizonans.

“Each time I visit border communities in my state, and I hear from folks, whether it’s in Bisbee, or Yuma or down in Lukeville, they’re not asking about elections. They’re asking about their everyday lives, because this crisis faces us every single day. It’s not just a television show for us. It’s our daily lives.”

However, according to the Wall-Street Journal on Saturday, the first-term senator hasn’t been soliciting past donors for money and has canceled fundraisers over the last several months. The news source states the former Democrat raised just $600,000 last quarter. But thanks to a healthy war chest north of $10 million, “most political strategists say she could easily begin raising big money if she decides to run.”

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Sen. Sinema talks new border bill, re-election on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday