Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Vice President Kamala Harris is not the right person to address the illegal immigration crisis at the U.S. southern border because she has never indicated that she considers the situation a serious threat.
“Vice President Hejinli was put in charge of border security. She may be the worst person for the job. There is no indication in her political career that she thinks the border is a problem or a serious threat.” Ducey told reporters on March 24.
“If President Biden‘s intent is to show that he’s taking this issue seriously, then he’s really done the exact opposite. He’s put someone in charge who doesn’t care at all and has completely downplayed the issue.” Ducey said.
Arizona shares about 350 miles of border with Mexico. According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an immigration watchdog group, the latest census shows that spending on Education, health care and incarceration for illegal immigrants costs Arizona taxpayers about $1.3 billion a year. The latest census shows that spending on education, health care and incarceration for illegal immigrants costs Arizona taxpayers about $1.3 billion annually.
Ducey’s comments come after Biden assigned Hejinli to lead the response to the border crisis. President Biden’s decision makes He Jinli a key figure in the dialogue between the U.S. government and Mexico and Central American countries to address the immigration issue.
During a visit to the border last week, Ducey criticized the Biden Administration‘s response to the surge of illegal border crossers. He said it sends a contradictory message to those who seek to test U.S. immigration regulations.
Gov. Ducey tweeted, “Biden’s Homeland Security Secretary @Mayorkas claims that ‘the border is secure.’ However, the developing border situation is a crisis and Washington, D.C. is completely out of touch with reality.”
Matt Gutman, ABC’s chief national correspondent, told the outlet’s news program, This Week, that what’s happening at the southern border is worse than it has been in years, and revealed more details.
“It’s unprecedented. We’ve never seen numbers like this inside these border patrol facilities, which in some cases are like prisons, and in most cases, like warehouses.”
“It’s almost double the number of people at the peak of 2018, 2019, and we’ve been at some of these facilities and witnessed overcrowding that’s almost unbelievable,” Gutman said, adding, “At one facility in Donna, Texas, it only has 250 beds and it’s filled with 3,900 children.”
Can you imagine what kind of social distance they have in there? Not at all.”
Hejinli acknowledged on Wednesday that there is a huge problem at the border.
“Well, OK, look, it’s a huge problem. I’m not going to pretend it’s not, it’s a huge problem.” He said to CBS show host Gayle King.
Are we looking at overcrowding at the border, especially with these kids? Yes, we are. Should these children be in the custody of HHS, the Department of Health and Human Services, rather than the Border Patrol? Yes. Should we be expediting these cases? Yes. However, this is not going to be solved overnight.”
She points to Obama/Biden administration policies such as the Central American Minors (CAM) immigration program, which allows Parents legally in the U.S. the opportunity to apply for refugee or advance parole status for their children living in the Northern Triangle (i.e., Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras), which she says helps stem the flow of migrants.
“There are things that we need to do, especially before the last administration, there used to be a system that allowed us to process these children in their countries of origin. That has been dismantled. We have to rebuild it.” Hejinli said.
The Trump (Trump) administration had halted CAM’s parole program in August 2017 and the entire program in November 2017 after a U.S. government review found that “the vast majority of people who enter the program, do not qualify for refugee resettlement.”
Vulnerable Salvadorans, Hondurans, and Guatemalans can instead apply for refugee status under the Protection Transfer Arrangement (PTA) program established in partnership with the Costa Rican government, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
In an interview during her presidential campaign in November 2019, Hejinli had outlined her vision for immigration reform to reporters.
“One of the reasons I’m running for president is to pass comprehensive immigration reform to give immigrants a pathway to citizenship.” Hejinli said at the Time.
“On my first day in office, I will pass an executive order extending the protections of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), not only for our Dreamers, but for their families and parents. And on that first day, I will close those private detention centers.”