Illegal immigration in Arizona has apparently become so bad that even a vulnerable midterm Democrat senator had to urge the Biden administration to pick up building a portion of former President Donald Trump’s border wall.
And, “after many months of pushing,” President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security has agreed to do it, Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., announced Thursday – just in time before Tuesday’s primary elections in Arizona.
The timing of the announcement is conspicuous. Kelly is facing a tough November midterm election against a group of America first Republicans vying in Tuesday’s GOP senatorial primary to face him, including Jim Lamon, Blake Masters, and retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Mick McGuire.
“It’s great that DHS is moving forward with a project that should already be done, but this small gesture does not make up for the repeated failures on border security over the past two years,” McGuire told Newsmax in a statement Thursday. “By Kelly’s own admission, he ignored this problem for nearly a full year after taking office. That’s not good enough.
“Arizona needs a senator with true operational experience securing our southern border, who understands why we need more than just a wall — experience I have as the former commanding general of the Arizona National Guard.”
The portion of the wall to be bolstered lies between Trump border wall projects in Yuma, where Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have been overwhelmed by illegal border crossings.
“For too long, the Morelos Dam area has been an operational challenge for Border Patrol agents to properly secure the border and keep our communities safe,” Kelly wrote in a statement. “I’m glad that the Department of Homeland Security has listened to Arizona and is going to close these gaps. This is a step forward, and I’ll keep working to ensure that Arizona has the tools needed for a secure and orderly process at the border including fencing and barriers where they make sense.”
All three Senate GOP primary candidates were strong on the border, crime, and the goal of defeating Kelly in the November general election at a July GOP Senate primary debate hosted by Newsmax.
“We must get back to removal of the criminal gangs, all of the illegal activity, the cartels, everything that the left, including Mark Kelly, aided and abetted by their actions, and your Senate, to allow this continue to happen,” Lamon said at the debate.
Biden had halted all border wall construction in January 2021, leaving 350 miles of wall already funded unfinished. In the past 10 months, CBP has apprehended at least 20,000 illegal border crossers each month and more than 30,000 in some months, the Washington Examiner reported.
The award of the construction contract will be made in September, a Kelly aide told the Examiner.