Senator questioned DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on the historic levels of migration at the Southwest Border and the agency’s preparedness ahead of Title 42 termination
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema questioned the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about the agency’s preparations to manage the anticipated migration surge in light of the recent announcement that Title 42 will terminate on December 21, 2022.
During a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Hearing, Sinema highlighted the administration’s failure to address the ongoing crisis at the border – resulting in a record 2.3 million migrant encounters at the Southwest Border in Fiscal Year 2022.
“The Administration’s continued failures on the border puts Arizona communities, and our national security, at risk. The ongoing influx of migrants puts serious strain on CBP resources, and forces Border Patrol Agents out of the field and into processing and administrative roles. It is obvious that the current strategy being implemented at our Southwest Border is not working, and change is necessary,” said Sinema, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
On November 15, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia struck down Title 42, and subsequently ruled that it will terminate on December 21, 2022.
Sinema has repeatedly expressed concerns about the historic levels of migration at the Southwest Border and has, for months, stressed to DHS officials how the lack of comprehensive planning and investments could harm Arizona communities and migrants – especially local nonprofits that are already near or at capacity due to the current border crisis.
During the hearing, Sinema continued her calls to Secretary Mayorkas to have an adequate plan in place to prepare for Title 42’s end. The Senator pointed to her Bipartisan Border Solutions Act with Republican Senator John Cornyn (Texas) – which improves the federal government’s response to the border crisis, reduces the impact on local border communities, ensures migrants are treated fairly and humanely, and improves management and security along the border – as a realistic solution to many of the challenges that will be worsened by Title 42’s termination.
The termination of Title 42 is expected to further strain the U.S. Customs and Border Protection workforce located in Arizona. In August, Sinema and Republican Senator Rob Portman (Ohio) introduced the Border Patrol Enhancement Act – bipartisan legislation that establishes a Border Patrol reserve program, improves annual training requirements, and addresses hiring and retention issues by increasing the minimum pay rates for Border Patrol agents. Sinema is also a cosponsor of the bipartisan Securing America’s Ports of Entry Act, which boosts the number of U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel at ports of entry, increasing security while facilitating legal trade and travel.