ARIZONA NEWS

Sen. Mark Kelly denounces Republican senators for blocking border bill: ‘This is a shameful day’

Feb 9, 2024, 4:35 AM | Updated: 4:31 pm

Immigration and foreign aid bill dead: Sen. Mark Kelly voices mind...

"Make no mistake, this is a shameful day for the Senate," Sen. Mark Kelly said during a Thursday speech at the Senate floor. (Getty Images File Photos)

(Getty Images File Photos)

PHOENIX – U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly mourned the death of a highly-anticipated immigration and foreign aid bill in a Thursday speech at the Senate floor of the U.S. Capitol.

“There was a real plan, a real bill ready to be passed and signed into law by the President,” Kelly said.

He said the border bill would have issued critical resources to help tackle the crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border, like:

– More Border Patrol agents.
– More technology to stop fentanyl.
– Additional asylum officers to quickly screen asylum claims.
– More judges to bring down the massive backlog of asylum cases.

“That would make a real difference,” he said.

The day before, Kelly had called Wednesday “a shameful day for the Senate” after Republicans blocked the bipartisan deal. It would have issued $118 billion to secure the U.S.-Mexico border and aid Ukraine and Israel.

The bill has been the focus of intense discussion and negotiations for months, according to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.

Sinema, who led negotiations of the bill, said it would close asylum loopholes that have contributed to the historically high rates of undocumented migrants flowing into the U.S.

Kelly called the current situation on the border a humanitarian crisis that is bad for everyone. Law enforcement, asylum seekers and communities all suffer if nothing is changed, he added.

“The problem gets worse the longer it is ignored,” Kelly said. “Yet, for decades, nothing has been done. This week, we had a real and rare opportunity to actually do something about it.”

Why was the immigration and foreign aid bill rejected?

Former President Donald Trump fiercely opposed the legislation on Monday. He called it a “horrendous border bill” in a post on Truth Social.

Election year politics set in before the Senate voted on the bill, according to the Associated Press.

Republicans said they’d prefer for voters to decide the issue in the presidential election, AP reported.

Kelly shared similar sentiments in his Thursday speech.

“If you come back to my state to do TV interviews at the border, you better be ready to explain why you chose politics over addressing this crisis that’s staring you in the face,” he said.

Despite Republican concerns that the bill prioritized helping allies to helping Americans, Kelly, Sinema and other advocates insist the bill would have improved Arizona’s border crisis.

“This isn’t just a political talking point for me or my state. It’s a reality we live every single day,” Kelly said. “That’s why even after this setback, I won’t stop working to fix the issues at our border and our broken immigration system.”

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Sen. Mark Kelly denounces Republican senators for blocking border bill: ‘This is a shameful day’