PHOENIX — Security along Arizona's southern border has been a main issue for politicians in the state for decades.
Both U.S. Senator Mark Kelly and his Republican opponent, Blake Masters, have called the border issue a "crisis."
“I first went down to the border 15 years ago—I've been on a back of a horse on the border. And I've delivered,” Kelly said.
“So yeah, he does the photo op. But his efforts are too little, too late," Masters said about the senator.
WHAT HAS KELLY DONE?
Sen. Kelly has pushed the Biden administration to do more on immigration in his time in office.
In July, the federal government announced a plan to close some gaps in Arizona's southern border wall.
“But that doesn’t mean this crisis is over. The federal government has spent billions of dollars on border security over decades and we still have a crisis.” Kelly said, “We need a safe process that treats migrants fairly, but that is also safe for law enforcement.”
Earlier this month, Kelly joined a bipartisan team of senators to introduce "The Border Patrol Enhancement Act." If passed, the bill would increase the number of total Border Patrol agents to 20,500 and raise Border Patrol pay by 14 percent. The legislation would also create a reserve force of border patrol agencies.
In an email, Kelly's campaign points to votes where Kelly supported policies like E-verify, provided more funding, and pushed to have judges ready.
"It's almost like there is an election coming up,” Masters said about his opponent. "He doesn't care about border security. He cares about lying to people to convince them that he cares about border security so he can win an election."
Masters campaign holds up a vote by Kelly on the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act.
A proposed amendment from Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) would have required the federal government to hire 18,000 Border Patrol agents before hiring any IRS agents. Kelly voted against the amendment.
Kelly's campaign said the senator has been active on border issues, and the federal government needs to do more.
In an email, his campaign said, "Senator Kelly believes Washington has failed Arizona for decades on the border and that we need improved border security and to fix our broken immigration system. During his time in the Senate, Senator Kelly has visited the border in Arizona seven times and taken action to ensure the southern border is secure and safe and the process is humane."
WHAT DOES MASTERS WANT TO DO?
“I believe the correct amount of illegal immigration is zero,” Masters said.
Masters has said he wants to build the wall, triple the size of border patrol, and reinstate former president Donald Trump's policies like "Remain in Mexico."
Simply put, Masters wants more resources in nearly every aspect of the border. He wants more border patrol officers, more immigration judges, and more tech.
“I'm a tech guy. I think we need drones with thermal imaging cameras. We can find where the drug tunnels are and blow them up,” Masters said.
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