Senator Sinema hosts roundtable in Cochise County for members of Congress addressing border crisis

Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 5:32 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 5, 2023 at 5:33 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) -Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema held a bipartisan roundtable in Cochise County with members of Congress and community leaders to discuss the border crisis.

She was joined by U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, Arizona Congressman Juan Ciscomani and other lawmakers from Texas and California.

The focus of that round table was the security of the border and how the criminal activity and drugs coming across it are now a public safety issue.

“The cartels are strategically orchestrating this effort across our border and we’re losing,” said Sinema.

Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels and Sierra Vista Police said they’ve thrown jurisdictions out the window and are now working together to stop crime.

“We’re not getting the best of the best coming here, we’re getting the worst of the worst coming here to commit these crimes,” said Dannels.

Last year there were 602 victims of felony crimes all related to the border in Cochise County.

“This new norm has impacted the quality of life for Cochise County and all the border counties that are engaged in this,” said Dannels.

Leaders issued a plea for help from members of Congress and Sinema during the bipartisan roundtable.

“I think it’s a security measure, not just an economy measure for Cochise County, but will keep things from coming in that shouldn’t be. That’s our goal. To be good partners with the federal government but not stepchildren,” said Ann English, Board of Supervisors.

They held a tour along that border showing members of Congress firsthand what border patrol is dealing with.

“I’m amazed on how great they do with how little they have. I think the takeaway is we’ve got to start getting to work about getting solutions down here based on the best expertise and that’s not from the White House it’s right here,” said Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)

They talked about technology being used to spot crimes but said they need more bodies in uniforms to enforce the law.

“I don’t care where you fall on the political spectrum, everyone should be against folks that are entering on the terrorist watch list, folks that are bringing in fentanyl trying to kill our kids, bad actors, everybody should be against that and I think we all agree on that,” said Congressman Tony Gonzales (R-Texas).

Another big focus was the cartel and how they’re soliciting minors through social media to drive migrants across the border. Sen. Sinema and Congressman Ciscomani highlighted a bill they’re sponsoring that would hold social media platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram accountable.

“Not only are they controlling the strategies of who enters our countries, how and when and what drugs or other individuals they bring with them, they’re also controlling what’s happening on these social media outlets. Right now there’s zero cooperation by these companies with the united states government. There’s zero accountability and they’re refusing to acknowledge that lives are being lost because of this,” said Sinema.

This strategy would focus on improving cooperation between DHS, and state and local law enforcement agencies, all using one reporting system for social media platforms.

“The cartels are on a clear mission to exploit every loophole out there in our system, in our laws, in our culture as well. This lack of communication and cooperation between these companies and the government, they’re exploiting that and they’re targeting our kids,” said Ciscomani.