Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Chair of the Senate Border Management Subcommittee, led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to the Southwest border, where they discussed the challenges facing Arizona border communities with Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels and other local leaders.
Sinema was joined by U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Congressman Juan Ciscomani (R-Ariz.), Congressman Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), and Congressman David Valadao (R-Calif.).
“Arizona, especially small communities along our border, continue to pay the price for the federal government’s failed policies. That’s why I’m bringing bipartisan partners to Arizona as we work on realistic and meaningful solutions to strengthen our border and keep Arizona families safe and secure,” said Sinema, Chair of the Senate Border Management Subcommittee.
Sinema’s roundtable is part of a Congressional delegation she is leading to examine challenges at the border with solutions-focused bipartisan Members of Congress. Local Cochise County leaders who experience the crisis on a daily basis joined the discussion to offer their perspectives – including Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels, Douglas Mayor Donald Huish, Bisbee Mayor Ken Budge, Sierra Vista Mayor Clea McCaa, and members of the community.
According to Sheriff Dannels, approximately 40% of the crime in Cochise County is border-related, and these crimes cost Arizona taxpayers $4.3 million in 2022. These border-related crimes include instances of cartels recruiting young American teenagers for dangerous smuggling operations along the border.
During the roundtable, Sinema discussed her bipartisan Combating Cartels on Social Media Act – legislation she introduced alongside Congressman Ciscomani – as a real solution. The bipartisan bill establishes and implements a national strategy to combat cartel recruitment activity on social media and other online platforms to help keep Arizona children safe from these cartels.
At the end of last year, Sinema partnered with Republican Senator Thom Tillis on a bipartisan proposal to fuel investments in Border Patrol Agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations Officers; reassert control of the border through increased enforcement, technology, resources, and more; modernize the asylum system; reform the employment visa system to ensure our nation’s global competitiveness; and establish a pathway for legal citizenship for roughly 2 million Dreamers who were brought to this country when they were children through no fault of their own.
In a December Senate floor speech about her bipartisan proposal, Sinema vowed to continue her work finding a path forward on a comprehensive plan to secure the border and ensure the humane treatment of migrants in the new year by bringing a group of committed Senators to the Southwest border.