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Hobbs supports $752M in federal border funding as concerns about street releases mount

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(The Center Square) – Democratic Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs sent a letter Wednesday in support of appropriating $752 million in federal funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Shelter and Services Program.

Her letter to the leaders of the House and Senate appropriation committees is backing up the proposal by U.S. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly for the funds to be part of this year’s Homeland Security appropriations legislation.

“My state has done everything possible to deliver safety and security to those communities, but we need Congress to step up and do its job,” Hobbs wrote. “It is unacceptable that the security of everyday Arizonans has taken a backseat to political games in Washington, DC, forcing working families in my state to bear the burden of congressional inaction. It’s time to prioritize practical solutions over political maneuvers.”

However, some Republican lawmakers are not impressed with her request. Hobbs’ first veto of the legislative session was the “Arizona Border Invasion Act,” which would have made it a state crime to cross the border besides through a legal port of entry.

“You vetoed a good border bill and now are asking for 3/4 of a billion dollars from the federal government?,” Rep. Austin Smith, R-Wittmann, tweeted. “You cannot be serious. Respectfully, you have not done everything possible to secure the border. Sign the border bills. We could have curbed this ourselves a year ago and can during session right now.”

In the letter, she specifically cited the estimate that the funding would allow for 1,500 more CBP employees. In addition, she explained that there are concerns in Pima County when it comes to funding for certain “essential services” past April.

Hobbs told reporters about possible migrant street release concerns next month at a jobs event in west Phoenix on Thursday morning.

“We’ve been able to completely avoid street releases in Pima County, and that could change if we don’t get this investment,” Hobbs said when a reporter asked.

“We’re going to do everything we can to avoid that,” she added, saying that her office is working with stakeholders at the border on a backup plan as the state is cash-strapped. The governor requested for $512 million reimbursement from the federal government for border expenses in December, The Center Square reported.

Arizona’s Tucson Sector continues to see the highest number of migrant encounters in recent months, according to CBP data.

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