In Homeland Security Committee Hearing, Sinema Calls for Serious Border Policy Action from Secretary Mayorkas

Nov 2, 2023

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Senator cited the more than 10,000 migrants that have been released into small Arizona border communities since early September as one of the many reasons enhanced border policies are necessary

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema called for serious, meaningful action addressing the growing crisis at the Southern border in a Senate Homeland Security Committee Hearing with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. 

Sinema emphasized how Arizona communities bear the brunt of the federal government’s failures on the border, especially when migrants are released from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities. Since September 12, over 10,000 migrants have been released into small Arizona towns – straining local resources, stranding migrants, and endangering communities. 

“This is not the time for partisan rhetoric. Our current system is not working, and communities and migrants are suffering. Our communities are in crisis, and dangerous drugs like fentanyl are killing thousands of Americans each year. We must make meaningful, lasting change to solve these issues and secure our border, keep Arizona families safe, and ensure migrants are treated fairly and humanely,” said Sinema, Chair of the Border Management Subcommittee. 

In Fiscal Year 2023, the Tucson Border Sector saw a 48.3% increase in migrant encounters. The influx demanded that CBP reassign port officers from Southwest border land ports of entry to help process migrants – increasing port wait times and harming regular trade and travel. Sinema questioned Secretary Mayorkas about what action the Department of Homeland Security is taking to return officers to their posts and prevent the need for future reassignments. 

Additionally, the Senator questioned Secretary Mayorkas about the Department’s support for local communities, who have been left to bear the brunt of the border crisis. Sinema pressed the Secretary to commit to working with her to improve the CBP Shelter and Services Program to ensure it responds to Arizona communities’ needs.

The Senator also spoke about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) notice of increased threats against Jewish, Muslim, and Arab communities and institutions amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Sinema questioned the panel of witnesses – including FBI Director Christopher Wray – about what enhanced action the FBI is taking to track hate-based speech and violence across the United States, and how that information helps other federal agencies better protect American citizens.