Feb 8, 2024 - Politics

How Senate border deal implosion could impact Arizona elections

A border patrol vehicle driving along border wall.

The border wall in Sasabe, Arizona. Photo: Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

Congressional GOP leadership quashed any hope of a bipartisan border security solution this week and both parties are looking to shuffle the blame.

Why it matters: A massive influx of immigrants at the southern border has caused a multitude of issues in Arizona border communities — most notably the monthlong closure of the Lukeville Port of Entry.

  • Border security is expected to be a key issue among Arizona voters in both the presidential election and U.S. Senate race.

Driving the news: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell officially pulled the plug on the border deal he helped negotiate Tuesday, acknowledging that pro-Trump Republicans would never allow it to become law in an election year.

The big picture: Trump hasn't made any effort to hide his calculus that the legislation, which also included funding for Ukraine and Israel, would have hurt Republicans at the ballot box.

  • "This is a gift to the Democrats. And this sort of is a shifting of the worst border in history onto the shoulders of Republicans," Trump said Monday on the "The Dan Bongino Show."
  • He and his supporters, including U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake, have chastised the deal, saying it wouldn't do enough to stop illegal border crossings.

The other side: "This bill won't even move forward to the Senate floor. Why? A simple reason: Donald Trump," President Biden said Tuesday.

  • "The American people are going to know why it failed," Biden pledged. "I'll be taking this issue to the country."

Zoom in: The biggest point of contention in the package is an emergency measure that would force the government to automatically turn back people illegally crossing the border once encounters reach a weekly average of 5,000 a day.

  • It would block migrants from a chance at seeking asylum.
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