Democrat Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona called out Joe Biden for not addressing the “immediate crisis” at the border in his address to Congress Wednesday night. Indeed, Biden spoke about addressing the “root cause” of mass migration at the U.S. southern border without mentioning any immediate solutions.
Kelly’s three paragraph statement offered praise for Biden on several issues, but devoted one of the three paragraphs to criticism about his handling of the border.
Sen. Kelly Statement on President Biden’s Address to Congress
April 28, 2021
Today, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly issued this statement following President Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress:
“When I talk with Arizonans across the state, they tell me they want Washington working together to beat this virus and get our economy back on track. Thanks to the COVID-19 relief I helped secure for Arizona, our state has ramped up vaccination efforts and provided relief and support for Arizona families, small businesses, and schools.
“I welcome President Biden’s call for Republicans and Democrats to continue working together on investments in education, infrastructure, and technology like increasing domestic manufacturing of semiconductors to maintain our competitive edge over China and create the jobs of the future in Arizona.
“While I share President Biden’s urgency in fixing our broken immigration system, what I didn’t hear tonight was a plan to address the immediate crisis at the border, and I will continue holding this administration accountable to deliver the resources and staffing necessary for a humane, orderly process as we work to improve border security, support local economies, and fix our immigration system.”
Biden’s prepared remarks on immigration:
And here’s what else we can do. Immigration has always been essential to America. Let’s end our exhausting war over immigration. For more than 30 years, politicians have talked about immigration reform and done nothing about it. It’s time to fix it. On day one of my Presidency, I kept my commitment and I sent a comprehensive immigration bill to Congress.
If you believe we need a secure border – pass it. If you believe in a pathway to citizenship – pass it. If you actually want to solve the problem – I have sent you a bill, now pass it.
We also have to get at the root of the problem of why people are fleeing to our southern border from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador. The violence. The corruption. The gangs. The political instability. Hunger. Hurricanes. Earthquakes.
When I was Vice President, I focused on providing the help needed to address these root causes of migration. It helped keep people in their own countries instead of being forced to leave. Our plan worked. But the last administration shut it down. I’m restoring the program and asked Vice President Harris to lead our diplomatic efforts. I have absolute confidence she will get the job done.
Now, if Congress won’t pass my plan – let’s at least pass what we agree on.
Congress needs to pass legislation this year to finally secure protection for the Dreamers – the young people who have only known America as their home. And, permanent protections for immigrants on temporary protected status who come from countries beset by man—made and natural made violence and disaster.
As well as a pathway to citizenship for farmworkers who put food on our tables. Immigrants have done so much for America during the pandemic – as they have throughout our history. The country supports immigration reform. Congress should act.
The NRSC’s Chris Hartline commented on Kelly calling out Biden, “Mark Kelly helped cause the crisis at the border. But he thinks Arizonans are dumb and won’t notice.”
Mark Kelly helped cause the crisis at the border.
But he thinks Arizonans are dumb and won’t notice. https://t.co/aKeqNs9Zrh
— Chris Hartline (@ChrisHartline) April 29, 2021
Kelly is up for reelection next year, having been elected and seated last November following a special election against incumbent Martha McSally to finish the remainder of the term of the late Sen. John McCain who passed away in 2018. In the interim the seat was filled by gubernatorial appointees John Kyle and McSally.