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Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is organizing a group of Republican and Democrat senators to head to the southern border to examine the nation’s immigration system.
This is one of the biggest moves Sinema has made since ditching her Democrat affiliation to become an Independent.
“Part of the problem is that many in Washington have never taken the time to really see our border up close,” Sinema said Tuesday, according to The Hill. “Without seeing it for all of its diversity and its challenges, it can be easy to rely on the partisan talking points instead of focusing on the meaningful, realistic solutions.”
Sinema is working with Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) to pull together senators “who are willing and committed to get something done” on immigration. The trip is expected to take place in January.
“We’re gonna see what Arizonans see every day because a crisis this big should not and cannot be ignored,” the senator added.
Border Patrol has been overwhelmed with incoming migrants during the Biden presidency. It’s estimated that nearly 8,000 migrants enter the U.S. each day, according to data obtained by NBC in September — and the crisis is expected to worsen if Title 42 ends. The measure, enacted under former President Donald Trump, allows the U.S. to immediately expel migrants on the basis of public health, specifically over COVID-19 concerns.
Sinema, who has routinely bucked the Democratic line, announced earlier this month in a guest column for the Arizona Republic that she was leaving the Democratic Party.
“Everyday Americans are increasingly left behind by national parties’ rigid partisanship, which has hardened in recent years,” the senator wrote. “Pressures in both parties pull leaders to the edges, allowing the loudest, most extreme voices to determine their respective parties’ priorities and expecting the rest of us to fall in line.”
“In catering to the fringes, neither party has demonstrated much tolerance for diversity of thought,” Sinema continued. “Bipartisan compromise is seen as a rarely acceptable last resort, rather than the best way to achieve lasting progress. Payback against the opposition party has replaced thoughtful legislating.”
Soon after her switch, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) slammed Sinema as a “corporate Democrat” only looking out for her own political future.
“I think the Democrats there are not all that enthusiastic about somebody who helped sabotage some of the most important legislation that protects the interests of working families and voting rights and so forth. So, I think it really has to do with her political aspirations for the future in Arizona,” Sanders said on CNN.
“She is a corporate Democrat who has, in fact, along with [West Virginia Democratic] Senator [Joe] Manchin, sabotaged enormously important legislation,” he added.