Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot said he is “cautiously optimistic” about immigration reform shortly after a bipartisan group of U.S. senators visited the southern Arizona border city Tuesday.
“I’m going to be cautiously optimistic to be quite honest with you after sitting there,” Wilmot told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show.
“We weren’t asked a whole lot of questions as far as other than ‘what was impacting us locally,’ is what they were asking, and that includes our tribal partners, as well.”
The sheriff’s comments to the bipartisan delegation comes as Wilmot also says the border town is in need of reimbursement funding for local hospitals and solutions to strengthen the environment.
During the visit, he was able to tell the senators they need to — whether they want to or not — enforce the immigration system before changes can be made.
“‘We need to get rid of their personal and political ideologies, get back to public safety and enforcing the rule of the law,’” Wilmot said to the delegation.
“‘I get that you don’t like the immigration system, but until then, you need to enforce it and then you can change it. Once you change it, then we’ll deal with that.’”
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema led the group comprised of six senators and various politicians in Arizona, addressing the impacts of the border and immigration crisis on nearby communities.
She said when they return to Washington, they’re going to “figure out how to increase the support that we’re giving to our men and women who provide this border security, get them back out on the lines doing their job, reform the asylum process and create a more efficient and safe, humane process for folks.”
“It’ll be our charge to take what we’ve learned back to Washington D.C. and to talk to our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to create the groundswell for this bipartisan process to solve it,” Sinema added.