WATCH: Sen. Kelly Delivers Remarks on Border Security, Fixing Broken Immigration System
A video of Kelly’s remarks is available HERE
Today, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly took to the Senate floor alongside Republican and Democratic colleagues to emphasize the importance of tackling the crisis at the southern border and to highlight the urgent need to fix the broken immigration system, including by providing Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship.
“I’m here today because securing our border and fixing our broken immigration system is a priority for me and for the state of Arizona, which bears the brunt of Washington’s failure on this issue,” Kelly said during his remarks. “Because on this issue, more than any other, folks often retreat to their partisan corners rather than finding the common ground that we know exists. It’s what’s led the federal government to fail border states like Arizona for decades when it comes to border security. And it has led to a broken immigration system that doesn’t work for families, for Dreamers, for businesses small and large, or for our country as a whole,” Kelly continued.
For months, Kelly has urged the administration and Department of Homeland Security to implement an adequate plan before lifting Title 42. Most recently, Kelly has been working with Arizona officials on the border and the Department of Homeland Security as they work to prepare for a potential lifting of Title 42.
In the Senate, Kelly has delivered extensive resources to support border personnel through this crisis. He has introduced legislation like the bipartisan Border Response Resilience Act, and has also passed legislation, such as and the Securing America’s Borders Against Fentanyl Act, which will be signed into law soon. At the same time, Kelly has long advocated for fixing our immigration system, including giving Dreamers a pathway to citizenship and reforming immigration programs that benefit our economy and communities.
See below for a transcript of Kelly’s remarks:
I join my colleagues to discuss the importance of tackling the issues on the border and with our immigration system.
I think what folks have heard so far is that Republicans and Democrats can find a lot of common ground, even on this topic.
I’m here today because securing our border and fixing our broken immigration system is a priority for me and for the state of Arizona, which bears the brunt of Washington’s failure on this issue.
This is a national security issue.
For decades now, politicians have tried and failed to fix our border and fix our immigration system.
We see crisis after crisis under administrations of both parties.
And we see attempts by Congress to pass reforms fizzle out over, and over, and over again.
Because on this issue, more than any other, folks often retreat to partisan corners rather than finding the common ground that we know exists.
It’s what’s led the federal government to fail border states like Arizona for decades when it comes to border security.
And it has led to a broken immigration system that doesn’t work for families, for Dreamers, for businesses small and large, or for our country as a whole.
In Arizona, these aren’t abstract issues. These aren’t theoretical questions to debate over. These are real problems and Arizonans deserve real solutions.
Our state is left to deal with crisis after crisis at the border, including the one we’re facing right now, where record numbers of border crossings are straining law enforcement and humanitarian organizations.
This is unsustainable, and a change to the Title 42 authority now is only going to make those challenges worse.
That’s why we’re here today- because it’s past time for Congress to work together to reform the broken immigration system and plan better to prevent this continued humanitarian disaster.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been speaking with Arizona officials on the border about the situation on the ground.
That includes Border Patrol who are seeing their staff stretched even further.
That includes the cities and counties who are having their emergency services strained.
And that includes humanitarian and non-profit organizations who are trying to increase their capacity because they’re being stretched so thin and are expecting to be stretched even further to help people.
So, I’ve been pushing the Department of Homeland Security as they work to mobilize as much staffing, resources, and coordination as they can ahead of a change in the Title 42 authority.
There is a lot left to do and I’ll keep working with them towards a secure, humane, and orderly process at our border.
But ultimately, Congress needs to step up too. We must do our jobs.
Because it’s not just Arizona that sees the impacts of Washington’s collective, repeated failures to tackle this issue.
There are hundreds of thousands of Dreamers across the country who are just as American as my own two kids, and still don’t have a pathway to citizenship.
They watch every court case and legislative effort to understand how it will impact their lives – to determine if they can continue living, studying, and working in the only country they’ve ever known.
Planning their lives, their careers, their goals based on the outcome of a court hearing – or what we fail to do in this room.
That’s just wrong. They deserve a pathway to citizenship. I know it’s a priority for many who have spoken here tonight and others in the Senate. It’s time to do it.
Furthermore, our immigration system just doesn’t work for our economy.
Across the country, there are businesses that can’t get the workforce they need, or that face huge backlogs in the immigration system.
A lot of families face similar backlogs too.
These are folks who are following the rules laid out by our laws but still run into a wall of bureaucracy.
It’s leading to labor shortages that squeeze supply chains and raise prices.
So let’s fix it.
And let’s take action to better secure the border, too.
That includes putting up physical barriers where they make sense, just like I’ve been able to do in places like the Morelos Dam in Yuma, where I’ve pushed to finish construction.
But also hiring more border personnel, increasing their pay, and deploying more of the right technology.
Here’s the thing: when you’re willing to sit down and really work together, you find that there is a lot of common ground on this issue.
So that’s my message to my colleagues today: come to the table and let’s get this done.
Let’s not keep kicking this can down the road.
Let’s do the tough work we were sent here to do and get something done to secure the border and fix our broken immigration system.