(NewsNation) — While many Americans are focused on inflation, crime and abortion as we approach the midterm elections, people living in border states also rank border security as a top priority when it comes time to cast their ballot.
The Border Patrol sectors along Arizona`s southern border experienced record-breaking migrant encounters in the last fiscal year, and each candidate has an idea on how to help with the influx.
The Yuma Sector saw a 170% increase when it comes to migrant crossings in the last year, with more than 310,000 encounters in 2022, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Tucson saw nearly 252,000 undocumented individuals cross into the U.S. through its sector.
The Biden administration has failed to get Congress to come together on comprehensive immigration reform, and despite voting in line with President Biden 94% of the time, incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly is one of the few Democrats who acknowledges there is an issue at the southern border.
s a mess. It‘s chaos. It’s crisis after crisis,” Sen. Kelly said. “I worked in Washington to bring more Border Patrol agents to the state of Arizona.”
Republican challenger Blake Masters, meanwhile, would take it even further and says he wants to militarize the border, categorizing the issues at the border as an invasion.
“You’re in the greatest country in the history of the world anywhere in the country you wanna go,” Masters said.
And an invasion is exactly what Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake says she plans to declare day one hour one if she is elected.
ve gotta stop people from coming in,"Lake said.
"We're no longer gonna accept people who are just pouring across our border. We don’
t know who they are, what their backgrounds are. We`re just not gonna accept this kind of lawlessness in Arizona any longer.”
Finishing the wall is also a top priority for both Lake and Masters. Secretary of State and Democratic candidate for governor Katie Hobbs says immigration is a federal issue and disagrees with the barriers currently being placed at the border.
“The shipping containers are a political stunt that are now gonna embroil our state in legal battles because the federal government is calling for them to be removed,” said Hobbs.
Immigration has been a political football for decades, but what`s different this election cycle is the unprecedented number of migrant encounters with more than 2.7 million undocumented individuals coming into the U.S. illegally last year. The majority of those, processed and released into the country with reporting instructions or a court date.