Senate

Sinema urges Biden to take 'bold' action at border: 'This is a crisis'

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) urged the Biden administration this week to take "bold" action to mitigate a migration surge at the border, saying that the nation is experiencing "a crisis."

On Thursday, Sinema said that she spoke with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who told her that he is working on addressing her concerns.

"What I'm waiting for is the administration to take bold action to actually address these concerns," Sinema told KTAR News 92.3 FM's The Mike Broomhead Show. "The reality is, this is a crisis and the federal government must do more to address this surge of migrants who are coming to the border with increasing numbers each year."

Sinema noted that Arizona's communities that are close to the border have been negatively affected by the federal government's handling of the situation, according to KTAR News.

Following Biden's inauguration, the U.S. saw a surge of migrants - particularly unaccompanied minors - to the border despite the coronavirus pandemic. In March, internal data at the U.S. government showed that a record number of unaccompanied minors were being held at the border in adult detention centers. 

The minors were held at these facilities over the 72-hour legal limit. At the time, Border Patrol said that it was having difficulty processing migrants due to safety precautions needed amid the pandemic.

Later, the Biden administration moved some of the unaccompanied migrants and migrant families into hotels away from the detention centers. 

Biden and his administration have received flak from both sides of the aisle on the issue, with some members of both parties characterizing the situation as a "crisis." 

Sinema on Thursday also called on Biden to designate the situation at the southern border a national emergency so that the state can receive support from the National Guard.

"To me, it's not important whether the person in the White House is a Democrat or a Republican in terms of negotiating or talking with them," Sinema told the outlet. "What's important is standing up for Arizona and the needs of our state, and I'm going to use the same exact approach with the Biden administration that I did with the Trump administration, which is the same approach that I used with the Obama administration."

On Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that media outlets have been characterizing the situation at the border as a "crisis," but she reframed it as a "huge challenge." 

"Sometimes the chyrons, the social media leads, they're looking for the nugget, right? And we were pushed and pushed and pushed," she said of the pressure to label the situation a crisis. 

"But really what we had to be focused on was what we were going to do about it and to us it's like that wasn't really a crisis, it was a huge challenge," Psaki said.  

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