Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) may have left the Democratic Party, though that doesn’t change the composition of the US Senate. It’s not like after the 2000 election when Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-VT) left the Republican Party, which enabled Democrats to regain the majority in the upper chamber. Sinema is, however, noted for her independent streak and her penchant for doing what’s best for her constituents regardless of how the national party fell on a particular issue. She was never one to kowtow to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Since she arrived in the Senate, Sinema has become more of a centrist than a liberal Democrat. That doesn’t mean she’s immune to backing heinous policy items, especially on immigration.
Sinema and Republican Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) stepped into a bear trap when they tried to ram through their immigration package before the end of the year, a bill that would have hurled millions of illegal aliens on the pathway to citizenship. It did offer more funding for Border Patrol, increased their salaries, and established an expedited deportation process, but the mass amnesty provision neutered these action items. Two million were slated to be eligible for the citizenship track and, once through the process, could sponsor extended family members.
There was a united front from conservatives in opposing this atrocious piece of legislation, which Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) killed when he told the pair that it wouldn’t be included in the monstrous $1.7 trillion omnibus bill. I take us down this part of memory lane because Sinema’s recent remarks about the border, while accurate, are shredded by the policies she promotes. A border crisis has been exacerbated annually, and both parties haven’t solved it. Every member of Congress, including President Biden, should see this circus up close—but her deal with Tillis wasn’t about border security. There was nothing in it to secure it, so take these statements with a grain of salt (via The Hill):
.@SenatorSinema: "The border crisis is not new. It has progressively worsened year after year, administration after administration, due to the federal government's repeated failures to address our broken border and immigration system." https://t.co/UkxgQx2tEb pic.twitter.com/fxZkZWrWna— The Hill (@thehill) December 29, 2022
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) plans to lead a bipartisan group of senators on a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border next Congress to see the country’s “broken” immigration system up close.
“Part of the problem is that many in Washington have never taken the time to really see our border up close,” Sinema said in a floor speech on Tuesday. “Without seeing it for all of its diversity and its challenges, it can be easy to rely on the partisan talking points instead of focusing on the meaningful, realistic solutions.”
Sinema said she and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) plan to convene a bipartisan group of senators in January “who are willing and committed to get something done” on immigration and organize a trip to the border.
“We’re gonna see what Arizonans see every day because a crisis this big should not and cannot be ignored,” she added.
Unless there is funding for a wall, a return to splitting up families who are arrested trying to enter the country illegally, E-verify provisions, and a complete overhaul of what constitutes asylum—there should be no deal on immigration. No Republican should even consider backing future immigration bills without border funding. I understand that you can’t get everything, but if Democrats are so adamant about amnesty, then the GOP should remain steadfast in finishing the wall at the very least.