Senator Kyrsten Sinema discusses the ending of Title 42
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - It’s been almost two weeks since the lifting of Title 42 restrictions at the border.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Oklahoma Senator James Lankford, and border officials are getting a closer look at what officials are seeing at the U.S./ Mexico border.
“We believe that the surge will come again,” Senator Sinema said. “In fact, we have seen this in the past couple of years. There will be a large surge and a drawback.”
Mayor Jorge Maldonado, Casa Alitas Director Teresa Cavendish, and leaders from the Tucson Airport Authority, Pima County and the City of Tucson discussed how they have been dealing with the influx of migrants.
Sinema said the goal of a roundtable was to identify short and long-term solutions on how to deal with migrants seeking refuge.
According to Cavendish, the number of migrants Casa Alitas has taken into its shelters has dropped since the lifting of Title 42.
Last week they were seeing around 1,500 migrants a day. Cavendish said this week they are assisting around 500 migrants a day.
She said still, even with this small drop, border officials aren’t equipped to handle an influx on the border.
“What you’ve heard today from the people on the ground, we are still managing a crisis every single day,” Sinema said.
Senator Sinema and Senator Lankford and officials agree it’s important everyone keeps working together to combat the issues at the border.
Mayor Maldonado said it’s important to remember all migrants seeking refuge are being checked thoroughly and without having any criminal records.
“We’re looking at the situation day by day, minute by minute,” Mayor Maldonado said. “Hopefully nothing of this will get out of hand and we will continue to keep this under control.”
Mayor Maldonado said he is keeping his fingers crossed that funding from the federal government won’t go away anytime soon.
“The town of Nogales does not have the ability to manage 100 individuals from African nations released into the streets of that small community,” Sinema said.
Sinema said since a surge can happen at any time, they are calling on the Biden Administration to come up with a real solution for the crisis at the border.
“It is intentional that while resources are being diverted to processing individuals through a broken asylum system that Fentanyl is starting to come in at a faster and faster paste,” Sinema said.
Senator Lankford and Sinema agree solving part of the problem means clarifying what asylum means and who qualifies for refuge.
“It’s important to know that right now because of this loophole in the asylum law,” Sinema said. “Cartels like the Sinaloa Cartel choose who comes to this country, through what venue, and when. It’s not the American Government doing that.”
They all want the federal government to know even though they have been managing the problem, they can’t be the only solution.
“When folks from other large cities from around the country say gosh it’s really difficult to have large groups of migrants coming into our cities,” Sinema said. “I understand and I would like to invite them to Naco.”
Senator Sinema and other border officials emphasize communication and working together is the only way to ensure Arizona communities stay safe and secure while also ensuring migrants are being treated humanely.
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