Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who left the Democratic party earlier this month, announced on Tuesday that she plans to lead a group of Republican and Democrat senators to the southern border to see the illegal immigration crisis up close.
“Part of the problem is that many in Washington have never taken the time to really see our border up close,” Sinema said, 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 said she will be working with Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) to organize a bipartisan group of senators “who are willing and committed to get something done” on immigration and visit the border in January.
“We’re gonna see what Arizonans see every day because a crisis this big should not and cannot be ignored,” Sinema added.
The announcement comes as the illegal immigration crisis at the U.S. border with Mexico continues to worsen. The crisis began shortly after President Biden took office in January 2021. That year set a record for illegal immigration as border officials encountered 1,734,686 migrants attempting to illegally cross the southern border in fiscal year 2021. That record was shattered the next year as 2,378,944 migrants were encountered in fiscal year 2022.
Sinema’s announcement was her first major decision since leaving the Democratic party earlier this month. In an opinion piece for the Arizona Republic, Sinema explained that she was registering as an independent because of the “disconnect between what everyday Americans want and deserve from our politics, and what political parties are offering.”
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