Arizona Law Enforcement Leaders Slam Sen. Mark Kelly's 'Lip Service' Then-Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly speaks to supporters during the Election Night event at Hotel Congress on Nov. 3, 2020, in Tucson, Arizona. (Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Monday, 15 November 2021 11:38 AM
Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., is all words and no action when it comes to supporting public safety and border security, top Arizona law enforcement officials said.
National Border Patrol Council president Brandon Judd and Arizona Police Association president Justin Harris told The Washington Free Beacon that Kelly has never reached out to their respective organizations despite having criticized President Joe Biden for the migrant surge at the southern border.
"It appears that he'll give lip service to a topic, but then when push comes to shove, he's right in step with his party," Judd told the Free Beacon. "And we know that as far as his party goes with border security, they're missing in action.
"He's never reached out to us, and that is what's concerning, because we have people reaching out to us all the time on both sides of the aisle."
With Biden's popularity free-falling in Arizona — only 36% of state voters approve of the president, a November Civiqs survey found — Harris said Kelly is playing politics with the border crisis as he seeks reelection in 2022.
"Mark Kelly scares the hell out of us, because it looks like he's doing this for Mark Kelly," Harris told the Free Beacon. "My membership is scared that we're one or two elections away from Arizona turning into a Chicago or a New York or a California.
"So, when it comes to my association and our law enforcement communities and families, Mark Kelly scares the hell out of us."
Republicans seeking Kelly's seat next year include state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, venture capitalist Blake Masters, and solar power CEO Jim Lamon, who has been endorsed by Judd's and Harris's organizations.
A Federation for American Immigration Reform poll in July found that 63% of Arizonans "hold the Biden administration and its policies responsible for the current immigration and border crisis."
Kelly spokesman Jacob Peters told the Free Beacon the senator's office reached out to the National Border Patrol Council "months ago" to schedule a meeting — something Judd disputed.
Judd also told the Free Beacon that although Kelly has tried to distance himself from Biden's border policies, his "voting record is in lockstep" with the president.
Kelly has voted against an amendment to protect former President Donald Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy, which forces migrants to wait in Mexico until a U.S. immigration court hears their cases, and also voted down an amendment that would have prevented the Biden administration from canceling border-wall contracts for which federal funds already had been appropriated, the Free Beacon said.