Sen. Sinema on the border: ‘This is a crisis…we all know it’

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema gave an interview to a radio show yesterday in which she was critical of the Biden administration’s response to the border crisis. “The reality is that this is a crisis,” Sinema said. She continued, “We all know it and the federal government must do more to address this surge of migrants who are coming to the border with increasing numbers each year.”

“We’re looking at numbers this year that are the highest numbers of crossings that we’ve seen in 20 years in Arizona,” Sen. Sinema said. She then mentioned a bill called the Bipartisan Border Solutions Act which she introduced with Republican Sen. John Cornyn. There’s a description of the bill here. It would do a number of things from hiring 150 more immigration judges to revising how “credible fear” interviews are conducted.

Asked what the Biden administration was going to do about the crisis, Sen. Sinema said she’d spoken directly to HHS Secretary Mayorkas and that she’d communicated directly to President Biden. “What I’m waiting for…is for the administration to take bold action to actually address these concerns,” she said. She added that small border towns in Arizona were seeing migrants dropped off when there were no facilities for them and not even a bus stop for them to go somewhere else. “Literally the mayor is putting them in his vehicle and driving them to Tucson or Phoenix to get them to shelter. That’s not acceptable and that’s what I’ve communicated.”

Speaking of the push by coyotes to deliver unaccompanied minors she said, “It’s not okay to use this as a strategy for immigration. We’ve got to fix that and the way to fix that is to adjust our system so that we can quickly adjudicate these cases, get people either integrated to the US or back home in their home country.” Sinema said she wanted the Biden administration to declare a national emergency to allow the National Guard to provide logistical support to CBP.

Sen. Mark Kelly has also been critical of the Biden administration response to the border crisis. In response to Biden’s speech before Congress last week, Kelly said he hadn’t heard a plan to deal with what was happening at the border.

Finally, I wanted to point out one more thing I saw yesterday. Rep. Henry Cuellar, who is a House supporter of the Bipartisan Border Solutions Act, poured some cold water on the Biden Administration’s claims about reducing the number of kids in CBP custody:

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, told Border Report that the photos are misleading because he says the unaccompanied migrant children actually still are at the same sprawling tent compound in Dona, but just in other tents that are operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“All they’re doing is they’re moving kids from one tent to the other tent and saying, ‘Oh, they’re not in the Border Patrol (custody),’ but they’re right next door,” Cuellar said. “They’re just next door in HHS.”

Technically, the administration may be within the law if it moves the kids from one tent run by CBP to another on next door run by HHS, but does that mean the conditions are significantly better? Ed has more about it here.

Here’s the full interview with Sen. Sinema:

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