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On Border Issues, Sen. Kelly Says He'll 'Call It Like I See It'

Published: Thursday, May 6, 2021 - 5:35pm

U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly criticized President Joe Biden’s congressional address last week for failing to mention what Kelly calls a “crisis” at the border in Arizona and Texas.

Arizona progressive activists warn Kelly, a Democrat, is falling behind a Republican narrative about the border, and say the senator’s time is better spent elsewhere.

“In this moment of posturing on that issue, the thing that voters are ultimately going to care about most is, having sent him to Washington, what can he deliver, what can he point to in 2022 and say, ‘this is how I made your life better,’” said Emily Kirkland, the executive director of Progress Arizona.

On Thursday, Kelly told reporters there’s plenty more than the border he’s working on. The senator spoke at Intel’s growing complex in Chandler, where he touted the company’s $20 billion investment to build two additional factories in the city.

Kelly also spent parts of the week touting efforts to aid in Arizona’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

He also met with U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector, a month after making his second trip to the southern border as a U.S. senator. Kelly told reporters Thursday he doesn’t look at the border as a politician, but as an Arizonan.

“I've been down to the border, Douglas and Yuma. I’ve talked to sheriffs and mayors, and the two sector chiefs and their leadership teams. We've got a problem,” Kelly said. "The federal government has failed on this issue for decades now. Washington has to do better, and Arizona's are fed up. So I'm just going to call it like I see it.”

On Monday, Kelly told KTAR the Department of Homeland Security is sending hundreds of personnel to the Tucson and Yuma border sectors to help assist with a recent uptick in border crossings.