PHOTOS: Sen. Kelly Makes Fifth Visit to Southern Border, Highlights Need for Comprehensive Plan and Resources Ahead of Premature Title 42 Lift
Today, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly returned to Douglas, Arizona, marking his fifth trip to the state’s southern border since he entered the Senate in December 2020. Kelly toured the Raul Castro Port of Entry and received an operational briefing from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel.
While at the port, the group discussed how the funding Kelly secured in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will enable the General Services Administration and CBP’s Office of Field Operations to both complete the construction of a new commercial Douglas Port of Entry as well as renovate the existing port, which is a key economic driver in the region. The upgrades to the port and port technology will also help Port Officers ensure more efficient trade and tourism between Arizona and Mexico while also stopping illegal cargo and smuggling.
During the briefing at the Douglas Border Patrol station with Cochise County Sheriff Dannels, Kelly heard directly from Border Patrol leadership about the operational challenges created by increased border apprehensions. Kelly discussed his concerns about the administrations’ plans to lift the Title 42 order and CBP personnel having to redirect much-needed staffing away from their daily responsibilities of protecting trade and preventing the flow of fentanyl, other illicit drugs, and firearms.
For more than a year, Kelly has been working to ensure an orderly, humane, and secure border process. Last month, Kelly urged President Biden to not end Title 42 without a comprehensive plan in place, which had followed a June 2021 letter urging Mayorkas to develop such a plan. Kelly then said he believed lifting Title 42 in May was the wrong decision, and introduced a bipartisan bill to delay the lifting of Title 42 until the administration has a comprehensive plan. Recently, Kelly secured critical federal funding to help Arizona manage the current migrant crisis, improve border security, and keep Arizona communities safe.
After visiting the border, Kelly met with City of Douglas officials and business owners to discuss their continued partnership and how they can work together to bring federal resources to Douglas that will improve port and water infrastructure, build new roads, and create more jobs. In this year’s government funding bill, Kelly secured more than $1 million for targeted projects across Cochise County.