By Corinne Murdock |
Last week, Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) revealed that he doesn’t believe there should be a wall along the entire border.
In an interview with Fox News last Thursday, Kelly said that technology was better than a barrier at some parts of the border. He added that saving money was more important than a complete border wall, too.
“I’ve spent a lot of time on our southern border. And it didn’t take me long to realize that different parts of our border need a different approach,” said Kelly. “In some places we need physical barriers, especially near population centers like Yuma, Nogales, Douglas, El Paso[.] In other places technology is more important, it’s more cost-effective.”
That doesn’t mean the senator disapproved of Governor Doug Ducey’s emergency completion of the border wall sans federal approval
The day before admitting his sentiment on a comprehensive border wall, Kelly signaled approval of Ducey’s initiative in an interview with KTAR. Kelly also acknowledged that the border situation was a crisis.
“I understand the governor’s sentiment on this and why he wanted to do that,” said Kelly. “There’s a crisis at the border and it’s important to address it.”
Kelly has consistently voted against total completion of the border wall since President Joe Biden took office. Last February, both Kelly and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) voted against an amendment prohibiting cancellation of the border wall construction contracts. Earlier this month, Kelly and Sinema joined their entire party to vote against numerous border security provisions such as wall completion the week prior.
Ira Mehlman, media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), told AZ Free News that Kelly’s votes earlier this month against including border security provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), such as funds to finish the border wall, confirmed that the senator isn’t truly in favor of securing the border.
“Actions speak louder than words. There was an opportunity for every one of the 50 Democrats to demonstrate how they felt about border security,” said Mehlman. “Kelly’s obviously trying to walk a fine line here. He understands that what’s happening is not popular in Arizona, but he does need a political base that he does need to turn out. That might be behind the Biden administration’s sudden willingness to do some more construction on the wall.”
Kelly’s public remarks compared to his voting would also explain his approach with Sinema to support niche border security efforts, such as increased funding for Border Patrol staffing and management announced in March, but not completion of the border wall.
Kelly took credit for the Biden administration’s promise last month to close border wall gaps by the Morelos Dam, which abuts Yuma.