Since the expiration of Title 42 on May 11, some lawmakers have pointed the finger at the federal government for a lack of preparation.
It was more of the same Tuesday evening during a roundtable discussion where federal and local officials addressed the challenges faced since the COVID-era policys ending.
“The responsibility to solve this crisis does not lie with any of you,” said Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema. “It is entirely a failure of the federal government.”
Sinema, joined by Oklahoma Senator James Lankford, led a discussion on how to address the consequences of the expiration of Title 42.
“Today, my objective is to propose some short-term solutions,” Sinema said.
The meeting took place at the historic Pima County Courthouse, where local officials from across the state pleaded for more resources as more migrants continue entering the country.
During the meeting, Nogales mayor Jorge Maldonado emphasized that language barriers are a challenge due to an increase in non-Spanish-speaking migrants, which is slowing down processing times.
“It can take anywhere from thirty to forty minutes, and sometimes up to an hour and a half, for a single person or family,” he said.
The situation is similar for migrant shelters; following the expiration of Title 42, Casa Alitas was receiving as many as 1,500 migrants per day. However, that number has now decreased to around 500, according to officials with the shelter.
“Even 500 is still an overwhelming number for a shelter in Tucson,” Sinema said while speaking to the media following the discussion.
Funding issues are also crucial, as highlighted by several officials on the ground. That’s an issue Senators Sinema and Lankford aim to address as they try to persuade their colleagues in Washington to take further action at the border.
“It is the federal government’s responsibility to enforce our current laws and communicate effectively and honestly,” she said. “Congress also has a duty to reform the broken legal system to prevent this problem from recurring in the future.”