Vulnerable Senate Democrats Criticize Biden's Border Policies Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz. (Rod Lamkey/Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Friday, 15 April 2022 08:48 AM
Senate Democrats running for reelection in November are separating themselves from the Biden administration's southern border policies, which include the decision to end Trump-era Title 42.
Nowhere is that more evident than in Arizona, where Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., is seeking to win his first full six-year term.
Title 42, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowed for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the border due to health concerns. The administration has said that order will end May 23.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., spoke out against the Biden administration on Thursday. Kelly did likewise during a trip to the border this week, saying the administration's reaction so far had been "unacceptable" and could be creating a "humanitarian crisis."
"Right now we have a crisis on our southern border," Kelly said, The Hill reported. "Right now this administration does not have a plan. I warned them about this months ago … and they do not have a plan in place on how to deal with the increased numbers. And it's going to be, to be honest, it's going to be a crisis on top of a crisis."
Jack Pandol, a spokesman for the Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.-aligned Senate Leadership Fund, told The Hill that "the worrisome thing for Democrats like Mark Kelly is that it's likely to get worse" and that the administration's decision was "driving a wedge in their party."
"I think that's why you see this politically motivated backpedaling on Title 42 is they recognize that it's likely to make the situation at the border even worse than it already is," Pandol told The Hill. "And it's going to draw even more attention to what's already a bad situation."
GOP campaign attacks on Democrats such as Kelly include pointing to budget votes last year related to the border and immigration.
"The Democrats are the gift that keeps giving," National Republican Senatorial Committee press secretary T.W. Arrighi told The Hill.
"We are delighted to not only be discussing their economic failures but also their failures at keeping our southern border safe."
Arrighi predicted that the elimination of Title 42 "will not earn them any additional votes, but will surely cost them liberal votes."
Arizona is just one of several key Senate races that will help determine which major party takes control of an upper chamber currently divided 50-50, and other Senate Democrats are joining Kelly in ripping Biden's border policies.
In Nevada and Georgia, Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., also have blasted the administration's decision to end Title 42. They both are running for reelection.
In Wisconsin, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, the Democrat front-runner to take on Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he opposed the administration's decision "because there's not a detailed plan in place so that we can keep asylum seekers and people in the country safe."
"I'd like to see Biden put forward a comprehensive plan that deals with an influx of asylum seekers before we lift Title 42," Barnes added.
Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., who is up for reelection in November, visited the U.S.-Mexico border during the Senate's April recess and released a photo showing her in front of the border wall.