ICYMI: Sen. Kelly Chats with Fox News About Delivering Results on Border Security, Working Across the Aisle

Arizona Senator Mark Kelly recently spoke with Fox News following his seventh visit to the Arizona-Mexico border after he successfully pushed the Biden administration to close border barrier gaps near the Morelos Dam, which will improve border security and management. During his interview, Kelly shared how he has worked across the aisle to find common ground and deliver results that support Border Patrol agents and ensure a more secure, orderly, and fair border response. 

See key excerpts from his interview with Fox News below:

On delivering results for Arizona:

[…] His pressure has produced results. After he called for additional resources at the border earlier this year, a spending bill included $100 million for extra Border Patrol hiring and $1.2 billion for border processing and management. Border Patrol has since been offering hiring bonuses to try and bring in new agents.

Then this month, the Biden administration announced that it would fill four gaps in the border wall near Yuma, Arizona, something for which Kelly had lobbied. The announcement was notable given the Biden administration’s intense opposition to border wall construction beyond limited repair and environmental operations.

Kelly acknowledged it had been difficult to secure that commitment, but cited his own background working for NASA — where he served as a Space Shuttle pilot — and in the Navy as experience tackling difficult operational problems. 

“I get the politics out of this,” Kelly told Fox News Digital in an interview this week. “I’ve spent a lot of time on our southern border. And it didn’t take me long to realize that different parts of our border need a different approach. In some places we need physical barriers, especially near population centers like Yuma, Nogales, Douglas, El Paso…San Diego. In other places technology is more important, it’s more cost-effective.” […]

On finding common ground in a divided Senate:

With a slim Democratic majority in the House and a 50-50 split in the Senate, a bill with no bipartisan support stands little chance of making it into law.

But legislation with both Republicans and Democrats signed on could make it through both chambers and realistically be signed by President Biden. Kelly said the task was about finding where there could be common ground, and helping an overwhelmed Border Patrol was one of those areas.

“It’s easy to agree on things like Border Patrol pay and a reserve force,” he said. “It’s obvious that Border Patrol doesn’t have enough agents. They can’t even hire the minimum right now, and we’re trying to find ways for them to better recruit Border Patrol agents. I think a lot of members of the United States Senate realize that we have this crisis, and unfortunately some folks on both sides of the aisle politicize it. But then there’s the rest of us that just want to find workable solutions that address what the American people need,” he said.

On bucking his own party on immigration:

[…] Kelly, who was elected in the traditionally red state in 2020 and is running for re-election this year, has been willing to buck his own party and the Biden administration on border security issues. After President Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress in April, Kelly was the only Democratic senator to fault Biden for not mentioning the border crisis.

Earlier this year, he was critical of the Biden administration’s plan to end the Title 42 public health order — which was being used to expel a majority of migrants at the border — and signed onto bipartisan legislation to delay the move until a plan was in place. 

On how border security affects us all: 

Kelly, speaking to Fox, highlighted that the border is an issue that concerns lawmakers and Americans from non-border states as well. He noted the rise in fentanyl coming to the border, which can spread to communities across the country — just this week official numbers showed a 202% rise in fentanyl seizures in July from June.

“This affects all of us, not just Arizona, not just Texas. This affects folks in Nebraska and Wyoming. When you think about the amount of illegal drugs that come across the border like fentanyl — 100,000 of Americans have died from that. So I hate it when I see that it becomes politicized. It shouldn’t, we’re all in this together, and we should work together to come up with solutions that work,” he said.

Read Kelly’s full interview with Fox News HERE.