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Arizona at crossroads in border crisis as street releases could begin in April

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The border crisis in Arizona is hitting yet another tipping point as some federal funding is set to dry up in April, which could lead to high numbers of migrant street releases throughout the state.

In hopes of avoiding the problem, Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs spoke out in support of $752 million in border funding from Congress, which is what Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly are also asking for, according to The Center Square. She told The Center Square on Monday morning that the state is working on getting a backup plan to prevent street releases.

“We don’t have any authority to do that,” Hobbs said if there would be any plans to have state authorities stop migrants from entering the United States, as Texas has faced legal backlash from the Biden administration for trying to block their border.

“But we are continuing to work, engaging with all the stakeholders and working on a backup plan. The bottom line is we need these federal funds and we have state funds and we’re coming close to exhausting those,” she said on the need for more federal support.

According to Arizona’s Family, street releases could impact border communities, as well as Tucson and Phoenix, with hundreds potentially being released daily as a result of funding being maxed out for transportation and other support.

This comes as a small delegation of Arizona Senate Republicans visited the border near Hereford, Arizona, on Saturday to speak with ranchers and law enforcement. Hereford is located in the Tucson Sector, which currently has the highest number of migrant encounters nationwide in recent months. Migrants, as well as traffickers, are typically entering through gaps where there is no wall or a part of the wall is cut open.

“This is why we’re getting invaded because we haven’t finished the wall. We haven’t put the people down here that need to be down here to stop it,” Sen. Janae Shamp, R-Surprise, said Saturday, referring to a large gap on a hill in the Tucson Sector. Shamp was the sponsor of the “Arizona Border Invasion Act,” which was vetoed by the governor, but it would have made it a state crime to enter the state through a non-legal port of entry.

Other Republican-backed border bills are expected to hit Hobbs’ desk soon, as they hold the legislative majority.

While many Republicans have placed the blame on Biden and Hobbs, some Arizona Democrats have footed the bill onto Congressional Republicans, many of whom did not back the bipartisan border deal that failed in the Senate last month.

“Extremists in Congress need to put politics aside,” Congressman Ruben Gallego said at a news conference in Nogales on Monday morning, alongside Attorney General Kris Mayes. Gallego is the presumptive Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate race to succeed Sinema.

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