PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is elated for President Joe Biden’s upcoming southern border trip — the first of his tenure — but isn’t convinced about his recently announced immigration policy changes.
“Remember that a couple weeks ago I said it was a no-brainer for the president to come and visit the border region,” Sinema told reporters Thursday at a press gathering in Peoria.
“It is the federal government’s failure to secure our border that landed us in this position, so I’m glad to see that the president is visiting the border now.”
Biden will travel to El Paso, Texas, on Sunday before moving on to Mexico City to meet with North American leaders on Monday and Tuesday.
The trip to the border comes in conjunction with Biden announcing Thursday the U.S. would immediately begin turning away Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans who cross the border from Mexico illegally.
The new rules expand on an existing effort to stop Venezuelans attempting to enter the U.S., which began in October and led to a dramatic drop in Venezuelans coming to the southern border.
Together, they represent a major change to immigration rules that will stand even if the Supreme Court ends Title 42.
Sinema wants to see how the policy change will work on a larger scale.
“The proof is in the pudding,” Sinema said. “We’ll see how they actually implement those actions to see whether it makes a difference on the border or for those migrants who are seeking access to the U.S.”
Sinema, who recently left the Democratic Party to become an independent, will also be in El Paso in the coming days.
Her and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) will lead a group of senators to the Texas border city on Monday before traveling to Yuma on Tuesday.
Sinema has been working with multiple Republican members of Congress to get bipartisan immigration legislation passed.
“Our congressional delegation that will be hosting on Monday and Tuesday of next week is really the launch to our effort to work on the immigration bill again this year,” Sinema said.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Tasler and The Associated Press contributed to this report.