Senators Sinema and Lankford encouraged increased coordination and collaboration – calling for the federal government to do its job
TUCSON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema – Chair of the Border Management Subcommittee – and Ranking Member James Lankford (R-Okla.) led a roundtable discussion with local community leaders on the front lines of the security and humanitarian crisis at the Southwest border following the termination of Title 42.
The Senators’ roundtable and visit to the Southwest border follows the end of Title 42. During the discussion, the Senators highlighted the impacts of the border crisis on local communities, including operational challenges when small communities are left to manage migrant releases on their own. On May 11 and 12, overwhelmed Border Patrol facilities were forced to release migrants in small communities, including over 100 migrants in Nogales. Local leaders from across the state stepped in to prevent a humanitarian and public safety disaster. The senators emphasized that these communities should never have been put in this position, and that this crisis was caused by the federal government’s failures on the border, and is therefore the federal government’s responsibility to manage.
“Transportation resources and shelter space remain limited, and workforce shortages put a strain on operations. Arizonans on the front lines should not be expected to do the federal government’s job,” said Sinema, Chair of the Border Management Subcommittee.
Participants in the roundtable discussion included Teresa Cavendish, Director of Operations, Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona; Jan Lesher, Pima County Administrator; Steve Holmes, Pima County Deputy Administrator; Shane Clark, Pima County Office of Emergency Management; Regina Kelly, Pima County Department of Grants Management & Innovation; Mayor Jorge Maldonado, Nogales; Genesis Cubillas, Policy Advisor for the Tucson Mayor’s Office; Clair Mark, U.S. Consulate Nogales; and Danette Bawley, Austin Smith, & Bruce Goetz, Tucson Airport Authority.
Leading up to Title 42’s end, Sinema routinely met with Arizona border stakeholders to prepare. A week before the authority expired, Sinema secured over $45.4 million through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program to help non-profits and communities on the frontlines of the border and immigration crisis provide critical assistance to migrants – limiting street releases, keeping Arizona families safe, and ensuring migrants are treated fairly and humanely.
Sinema and Lankford’s trip to Tucson is the latest in a series of visits to the border. In January, Sinema led the largest bipartisan delegation in recent memory of U.S. Senators to the Southwest border in El Paso, Texas, and Yuma, Arizona, to see firsthand the ongoing humanitarian and security crisis that Arizona border communities experience every day. Last month, Sinema led a Congressional delegation to the Southwest border near Naco to continue focusing on lasting bipartisan solutions to the border crisis.