With lawmakers back in D.C. after the holidays, ongoing discussions about an immigration reform bill have resumed.

Independent Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema is one of the main negotiators.

She is working with many of the senators who she has toured the border with in Arizona in 2023.

Today she said the group working on drafting the legislation are close to presenting the text and framework to other lawmakers.

Were down to the last couple of items and we share a consensus desire to solve these last challenges and I believe that we will,” Sinema said.

Negotiations have been ongoing as getting a deal that pleases both Democrats and Republicans, as well as President Biden, is a difficult challenge.

Sinema would not go into specifics on the last few items being discussed, but she did say she believes U.S. laws are being taken advantage of.

The cartels are exploiting the asylum system in our country,” Sinema said.

She did add getting quicker asylum claim decisions and decreasing the number of illegal border crossings are of high priority parts of the legislation.

The Tucson Sector border patrol chief said last week his agents made 13,800 apprehensions.

While the numbers are high they are down from December when in one week agents made nearly 20,000 arrests.

As illegal border crossings surged legal travel was shut down at the Lukeville Port of Entry.

The port was reopened on January 4th.

Senator Sinema said she was relieved to see it reopen but added it never should have been closed in the first place.

Im incredibly upset about the economic loss that the communities around Lukeville suffered during that time,” Sinema said.