Democratic Senator of Arizona Mark Kelly spoke out against President Joe Biden’s lack of discussion about a plan to address the border crisis during his first address to Congress Wednesday night.
In a statement about the speech, Kelly said, “When I talk with Arizonans across the state, they tell me they want Washington working together to beat this virus and get our economy back on track. Thanks to the COVID-19 relief I helped secure for Arizona, our state has ramped up vaccination efforts and provided relief and support for Arizona families, small businesses, and schools.”
“I welcome President Biden’s call for Republicans and Democrats to continue working together on investments in education, infrastructure, and technology like increasing domestic manufacturing of semiconductors to maintain our competitive edge over China and create the jobs of the future in Arizona,” Kelly continued.
“While I share President Biden’s urgency in fixing our broken immigration system, what I didn’t hear tonight was a plan to address the immediate crisis at the border, and I will continue holding this administration accountable to deliver the resources and staffing necessary for a humane, orderly process as we work to improve border security, support local economies, and fix our immigration system.”
In an interview with Politico, Kelly said, “This continues to be a major problem that shouldn’t fall on the shoulders of Arizona communities. And I think it was important to highlight that it wasn’t part of the address last night.”
He said, “We’ve got to address this and it can’t be on Arizona taxpayers and Arizona towns that are really struggling right now. It’s a federal government problem.”
The Biden administration has avoided using the word “crisis” when referring to the rise of migrants at the border, but Kelly did not shy away from that language. According to the outlet, Kelly said that Biden did “not specifically” touch on “what I would say is a crisis on the border in Arizona and Texas.”
Kelly said he has been in regular discussions with both Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. He added that he’s requested the White House to send additional resources to combat the rise in migration. He recognized that Biden had many topics to address in a finite amount of time, “but I thought [the border] was an important issue to be addressed.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Biden used his speech to call on Congress to pass the immigration proposal he put out on the first day of his administration. But that plan, which would make a “pathway to citizenship for the approximately 11 million people who entered the country illegally, overstayed visas or have obtained temporary protection from deportation, doesn’t include the increased border security that Republicans have sought in exchange for legalization,” the outlet reported.
The Daily Wire reported:
Instead of directly addressing the issue, Biden called on Congress to “end our exhausting war over immigration.” Biden failed to talk about the alarming conditions that migrants have been subjected to under his administration and how border officials have been overwhelmed by the crisis, over which members of his own party have been sounding the alarm for months.
Biden said, “For more than 30 years, politicians have talked about immigration reform and we’ve done nothing about it. It’s time to fix it.”
He added, “Now look, if you don’t like my plan, let’s at least pass what we all agree on. Congress needs to pass legislation this year to finally secure protection for DREAMers, the young people who have only known America as their home.”
“Look, immigrants have done so much for America during this pandemic and throughout our history. The country supports immigration reform,” he said. “We should act. Let’s argue over it. Let’s debate over it. But let’s act.”