Sen. Martha McSally

Sen. Martha McSally

Senator Martha McSally has been busy in Mohave County with community events and round table discussions, and she visited Yuma on Thursday afternoon to show the acting Secretary of Homeland Security around.

“I've been there several times,” McSally said, “but it will be important to go there with him.” She will be showing him around, getting updates from local leaders and Border Patrol to “see what else we can do to help.”

She tweeted on Thursday after her visit, “We must treat all migrants — including those who illegally cross the border — with the utmost care and respect while in [Department of Homeland Security] custody.”

On Wednesday morning, McSally met me at the Bonanza Café in Fort Mohave to talk about what she’s been up to. Here’s the conversation.

Q: What changes do you think are necessary for the immigration system?

A: So I have legislation with Lindsey Graham that just came out of his committee. Unfortunately, so far we don't have any Democrats supporting us. I do believe there is opportunity for bipartisan support. We have to do more to secure the border, for sure, but I'll set that aside.

Our legislation is about closing the legal loopholes that, right now, are incentivizing [illegal crossings and people] paying cartels, who are now profiting off of the business model, and allowing people to basically, then, take advantage of some loopholes we have in our laws.

For example, they know that if they show up with a kid that, based on a court settlement called the Flores agreement, we can only hold them for 20 days... It was a court case that talked about how DHS can only house unaccompanied minors for up to 20 days before they have to be transferred over to [the Department of Health and Human Services] obviously, and then make sure that they are put into a safe home. The individuals that they are released to are vetted.

So that was 20 days for unaccompanied minors, but under the Obama administration, that was then updated with an updated court settlement to include an adult with a kid. So prior to that, actually, the Obama administration was doing very different things to try and deal with what was happening at the border. They had a lot of particularly unaccompanied minors. But they did not see the adults with a child. So this change in this Flores settlement, saying that the 20 days also applies if you're an adult with a kid, is now incentivising, basically, take a kid with you, because they know that — regardless of whether you are trying to claim asylum or you are illegally crossing and you're apprehended — if you have a kid with you, you're going to be released within 20 days. So it's their ticket to basically be released into the interior of the United States, often without any charges filed against them, often with no court date to show up to, and some of them are also claiming asylum, and some of them are not. So this 20-day restriction of adults with children or minors themselves is one element of what is driving and incentivizing this mass influx from Central America, because they know if you've got a kid, you're let go. So we've got to close that loophole.

Our bill allows us to house families for up to 100 days, together, while their case is being processed, with 500 more immigration judges so that we can quickly begin with the process, the process of the illegitimate asylum claims. Those who are not legitimate, they need to be sent back, just like anyone else who has an illegitimate asylum claim. What's happening now is because there's so many coming in, they are being just released. Many of them who have said they are claiming asylum, they never show up to their court date. They go out and disappear. So until we stop the incentives, which a part of our bill does — we have processing centers that we propose to set up in Central America and Mexico for people to claim asylum. We need 500 more immigration judges, and then we are allowed to house a family unit for up to 100 days instead of the 20-day limit, which will give time for them to have due process. So that's generally what Senator Graham and I's proposals are. We're certainly open to any other ideas anyone has.

What we also need to do is fund the housing. This is one of the challenges we have. Often, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, when we come to budget discussions, they want to limit the number of what they call "retention beds" — what I would call housing for people that we are processing. We have to be able to house them somewhere in facilities that were intended to house people. The border patrol stations were not intended to house people. They were intended to process people and then transfer them to ICE or HSS or whatever other appropriate organization that would then have facilities to house people. But our colleagues on the other side of the aisle are constantly limiting the number of opportunities, spaces, for us to house people that have crossed here illegally.

So basically, if you think about it, they won't provide funding to actually provide physical security to the border. They won't close the loopholes. They won't provide the funding for the humane housing. So essentially, they just want anybody to be able to come, and let them go. Because that's the implication of not being for any of these reasonable things that I just mentioned.

What I am for is securing the border, closing the loopholes and providing enough funding for the housing, so that we can humanely and professionally house people while we process their claim. They have due process and then we send them back... if they don't have a legitimate claim.

Q: Why did you decide to vote yes on the federal budget?

A: Well I had to hold my nose to do so, but I was very much focused on the impact on our military over sequestration and the deep budget cuts that have happened over the last decade.

Our military has been in a readiness crisis for several years now while the world is more dangerous than I've seen in my lifetime. So we owe it to them that, if they're going to serve and sacrifice, that we give them what they need — the equipment, the training, the personnel, the support, the healthcare, and support for their families, and the predictability — so we're not playing games in D.C. with fits and starts and continuing resolutions and threats of government shutdowns. Provide that stability to our troops and their families, that we're going to give them what they need, and we're going to get them on a path to wellness, which is going to take several years... while investing in future capabilities that we need for future threats that are out there. So that was really my focus.

It's unfortunate that we've had a pattern where, in order to fund defense, again, we've had Democrat leadership… kind of holding defense hostage to raising spending in other areas. I feel that with a divided government — meaning a Democrat majority House and 60 votes in the Senate and a Republican president — that was the least worst option that they negotiated in order to provide the stability needed for our military and not defaulting on our debt as a country. It was the least worst option that we had to kind of agree to in order to provide that stability.

I'm very realistic. There's a lot of people that are in D.C. that are not realistic. They wish for other options that are not actually executable. They're not possible. Our Founding Fathers set up that you've got to get something to the House and the Senate and finally the president, and we need 60 votes in the Senate and we have a Democrat-controlled House, so you can't get everything you want. So you get the best of what you're fighting for, and at least stop the chaos and the uncertainty that Washington D.C. often brings, which is unfair for our military.

Q: What is it like to work with the two women that you ran against, Kelli Ward and Kyrsten Sinema?

A: Well Kelli, on the political side of course, is running the GOP, so that's on the campaign side. I'm here in my official capacity. But I appreciate the work that she's doing over there.

Kyrsten and I are working great together. I'm an athlete, right? So you go out in a game, you leave it all out field. There's sweat and blood sometimes and then at the end, you know, you high five. Somebody wins, somebody loses. Then, maybe you go out and get a beer after the game, right? So, you know, we had a tough campaign. She won, fair and square. I congratulated her and wished her the best, and then I was given the opportunity to be appointed, and so now we can both work on behalf of Arizona together. So it's about looking forward and not back, and we've been working on a lot of things together in Washington.

I don't take any of it personally. In general, in life, I'm like, look forward, not back. We now have an opportunity to serve and make a difference based on what's best for our Arizona.

We're not going to agree on everything, but where can we find that common ground and team up so that we have more strength working together on both sides of the aisle? Sometimes, we're going to really need some support on the other side of the aisle. We each bring attributes to help Arizona. In general, we're focused on serving Arizona. I still feel like the last campaign barely ended, so now is my opportunity... for the next year and a half to really make a difference in the lives of Arizonans.

My dad passed away actually 41 years ago today, and I'm very mindful — not just today but everyday — that life is a gift, and I want to make a difference with every day. When people are given the opportunity to ask whether you should stay or not, then you doing a good job is the best thing that you can do in order to make that case. So that's what I'm focused on right now.

Q: Is there anything that you would like to say to the people of Lake Havasu City?

A: Sure. Well, I would say to Mohave County in general, one of my first commitments was to visit all 15 counties. I mean, I came out during the campaign, but as a senator to get around... listen to the local communities, talk to the mayors. talk to people. I called it my Two Ears and One Mouth tour, used proportionally. Basically, just listening.

So we heard a number of issues. One was related to the land exchange that we made happen, and, you know, get across the finish line and sign it into law for Bullhead City. That was really important. It took an act of Congress to actually provide opportunity for economic development for the community. We made that happen.

The Drought Contingency Plan is something that is impactful, really for the whole state, with the Colorado River. So that took an act of Congress, and I worked with [Raul] Grijalva to speed that legislation through the Senate and the House. We still have more to do related to water for sure for this community at the federal, state, local level. We've got to partner together with tribal communities, as well, because water is our life, for us in Arizona.

Then, I heard about. the issues of wild burros. So I've actually brought that up in a committee hearing, making sure that specifically, we are talking about wild horse management. Wild burros have their own challenges and opportunities to manage them better. This is a public safety concern in this community. So really we're pushing on BLM to do more to address the wild burrow issue.

There's plenty of other opportunities, I think, for us to be a support here. We're having a health care roundtable today [Wednesday] talking about access to healthcare for everybody and also veterans as well.We're here, again, to listen, but also we've already delivered.

And there's one other thing – infrastructure. After the 15 county tour, I realized federal grants are so important to, especially, rural communities to get access to federal funds. And oftentimes, they don't have the same infrastructure on their staff as the larger cities have to understand how to navigate what grants are available and how do we ask for them. So I've actually hired on my staff, created a position, a full-time grant person, whose entire job is to coordinate with communities, to identify areas where there is appropriate federal funding that they could ask for, and then we put a grant letter of support on top of that. So we just recently submitted one for a BUILD grant, which is related to infrastructure. That's for a $25 million project.

Not everything is a federal government issue, but where there is a nexus or where there can be partnerships, where maybe some federal and some local and some state, we want to be able to build those partnerships. So that's one reason why we're back here today.

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(49) comments

Can Of Corn

Hwy is Wrong All The Time! He's mentally ill folks. He thinks he is a Marine that served in the Nam - Lie! He thinks he knows about Havasu - Lie! He thinks he knows politics - Lie! All Lies!!!! He belongs in a rubber room. 🤣🤣🤣🥫🌽


simon1dog

Whenever Hwy uses the term "DOT trash", to someone folks reading this forum, it appears he's slandering Department of Transportation employees.

VA172

Welcome to the HBC (Hwy Bashing Club).


HwyRovr

How proud you all must be! You all remind me of a fool who shoots himself in the foot, then hobbles around bragging about what a great shot he is.

VA172

How does it feel to be treated the very same way you treat others. What happened to the guy that thought this was funny and enjoyed it so much.


Can Of Corn

🤣🤣🤣


HwyRovr

Why must DOT's lie - all of the time - about everything? This time it's sewage and here are the facts, "Sewage flow in Tijuana goes to the lowest point in the city, which happens to be at the border. Mexico currently has a pump station at that point. They pump their raw sewage from that point over the hills to their treatment facility, which is six miles south."

Comment deleted.
HwyRovr

Nope, you are wrong, so very wrong. And look at your dumb claim that sewage is being brought from Ensenada (80 miles south of Tijuana) to the U.S.

JVW

rovR. I guess if you were Smarter you wouldn't be so Stupid. LMAO.


JVW

rovR the Genius in his own Mind. You can look it up. South Bay International Wastewater Treatment plant. Start with this one... Then tell me you're full of Poop.


VA172

Oh no! Hwy was wrong, again.

HwyRovr

Nope, you are wrong - again.

VA172

How can you say he is wrong when you stated that sewage from Tijuana is processed in San Diego. Doesn't make any difference about funding. The very simple fact is exactly what you stated.


HwyRovr

VA172 - Accuracy is never a DOTs long suit. Dimbulb said American taxpayers are paying to process all sewage from Tijuana and ENSENADA. Wrong on both counts.


VA172

Sorry Hwy, I'm wrong on neither account. Get your head back into the sunshine.


HwyRovr

Why is it DOTs can never be truthful and always have to ignore the actual facts of – anything. Yes, there is a South Bay International Wastewater Treatment plant, however, dimbulb failed to tell the whole story. An agreement was reached in 1990 between the U.S. and Mexico for the design and construction of an international wastewater treatment plant in San Diego to provide treatment of sewage from Tijuana. Mexico provided funding for the plant in the U.S. instead of building a plant in Tijuana. Mexico agreed to dispose of solid waste in Mexico. Federal taxpayer money from both nations paid for the plant and the agreement has been the U.S. takes 25 million gallons of waste from Mexico per day and treats it. That’s about one half the daily amount of sewage produced by Tijuana, the remainder is pumped the Mexican treatment facility, six miles south.



Now that we’ve covered that, tell us why you said sewage was being moved from Ensenada to San Diego?

JVW

rovR. The 250 million dollar plant that Mexico was to contribute 41 Million dollars over 5 years was never paid. Thats a fact. The other Fact you don't mention is The cost of running the facility or the cost of of Maintaining it. Tax Payers are Paying for it. The fact is the USA has been putting Billions of dollars into the Mexico Waste water treatment and we started the 1930's.



Don't just do the Lefty Picking and Choosing BS. Tell the Facts with real Numbers.


HwyRovr

Just out of curiosity is there any point in time we can expect you to actually tell the truth about anything? You're saying "that's a fact" is about as truthful as the idiot claiming "MEXICO WILL PAY FOR THE WALL!" And why do you keep dodging that you claimed American taxpayers are paying to have sewage from Ensenada (80 miles south) moved to San Diego?


simon1dog

Mexico is paying for the wall through tax changes Trump made to Mexican imports. Business 101 would tell a person that. They'll pay for the wall 100 times over.

Sonny

simon1dog[thumbup][thumbup]

HwyRovr

Hmmm, any additional taxes charged for Mexican imports will actually be paid by the consumer, i.e you and me. Econ 101 will tell a person that and THAT is not "MEXICO WILL PAY FOR THE WALL!" Poor DOT's so easily misled.

JVW

Lil. rovR you bundle of joy. Lost in lefty vision. Inflation is out of control Economy is terrible the stock market is crashing all these gun slinging Racist gay haters running around Oh, and if you're a women!!



Econ 101. Cost of business. If you want Cheese from France you pay for it


HwyRovr

If you want a hamburger from McDonald's "you pay for it."

Can Of Corn

Well HwyRver isn't a businessman at all. He's a liberal leach sucking off the govt tit, and lives in this forum because he has no life. Copy & pasting from CNN all day is the highlight of his TDS. He actually believes the lies he spews.


HavasuGuy

Mr. Lemon, your "observations" do not deter from the facts that Trump has lied, did dodge the draft, has emboldened racists/white supremacists, and appears to be a coward by his bullying. Not the type of person that I can say I'm proud of as our president. Why make excuses for anyone of this character?

Proudindependent

Funny, when Obama said you could keep your doctors the faux news and all the republicans ran around saying he lied he lied, even though most did get to keep their doctors, now that we have Trump who lies about everything they switched to all politician s lie. Pretty funny.

HwyRovr

Excellent points! Speaking for myself I have kept all of my doctor’s since the inception of the ACA, I also have retained the same insurance carriers, my co-pays have not increased and my premiums have risen by less that 10% (considerably less than the annual 25/40% annual increases prior to the ACA). I am not sure of the cost savings I have incurred, although with the ACA my prescription costs have dropped, I have access to preventative health care procedures that prior to the ACA were not covered (necessitating out-of-pocket costs). As to insurance companies, Obama had nothing to do with scummy insurance companies dropping out of markets where they offered virtually nothing despite charging for “coverage.”

VA172

I can say the same thing about Medicare.

HwyRovr

What does that even mean?

HwyRovr

VA172, The paper has a limit on the amount of space one can use here, but you can find a comprehensive list of lies told by the draft dodging coward (thru mid-2017) here - https://billmoyers.com/story/donald-trumps-lies/. There are other sites that will fill in the gap from then until now. Enjoy the read.

VA172

Try reading this book by Daniel Alman '1,375 well sourced examples of Barack Obama’s lies, law breaking, corruption, cronyism, hypocrisy, waste, etc.' Your beloved former president wasn't a lot better.

HwyRovr

And your point is? We are not discussing whataboutism, we are talking about the nearly 11,000 lies told by the lying, draft-dodging, racist, coward currently squatting in our White House.


VA172

No, we are discussing the fact all politicians lie.


VA172

I would fully expect the likes of you to buy into a total liberal article. No better than a faux news article.

HwyRovr

I would fully expect the likes of you to buy into a total right-wing loon book. Just more of the usual DOT trash.

HwyRovr

McSally supports Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who promised Republicans would push to repeal the ACA (known as ObamaCare by the intellectually challenged) if they win back the House and President Trump is reelected in 2020. Graham's repeal bill would eliminate major sections of the ACA including subsidies that help people buy insurance and Medicaid expansion that covers low-income adults in 36 states and Washington, D.C.

Mr Lemons

According to Healthcare.gov, all insurance plans must cover treatment for pre-existing medical conditions. No insurance plan can reject you, charge you more, or refuse to pay for essential health benefits for any condition you had before your coverage started.



When Republicans in the house were trying to pass the American Health Care Act, McSally did support a last-minute measure known as the Upton-Long amendment to help secure enough votes to pass the American Health Care Act in the House, but it failed to pass in the Senate.

So McSally did strive to maintain coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.



As far as, the repeated labeling of President Trump, as a liar, a racist, a draft-dodger, and coward, here are some observations.

Liar: Now that he's a politician, I'm sure that he has lied. It sort of comes with the territory, apparently. (You can keep your health insurance. You can keep your doctor. You'll save $2500 per year on health insurance or I never had sex with that woman).

Racist: I guess the new definition of "racism" is that no white person can be critical of any person of color. If you're against illegal immigration or "open borders" then he's labelled a racist. If you're for increased scrutiny of immigrants from middle-eastern countries then you're racist. If you criticize the decades of Democrat run urban areas for their squalor and violence, then you're racist. If you repeatedly state that you are against "white supremacists", "white nationalists", and the KKK (founded by Democrats), then you're still a racist. It's dangerous to keep throwing out the label of "racist" as it dilutes the impact of the word and lessens real charges of racism when it does occur.

Draft-dodger: This is an interesting charge. As a Vietnam veteran, I'm well aware of what was going on in the 60s. If you were in school at the time then you received a deferment. Many leftists avoided the draft by enrolling in school, by receiving medical deferments (bone spurs). If you were rich then it was easy to get a deferment. Leftists were against the war, of course. Some even went to Canada to escape the draft. It's ironic to me, that these same leftists today attack President Trump for avoiding the draft. The very thing they applauded during the 60s.

Coward: I don't know President Trump personally, so I have no idea whether he's a coward. None of us know that. Usually, we don't learn we are a coward until a situation presents itself to which we have to react cowardly or heroically.

VA172

Very good answer to Hwy. Don't expect a response from him that makes any sense. Trump all along has claimed a crisis at the southern border and now that the liberals admit it he's called a racist.


HwyRovr

What happened to “MEXICO WILL PAY FOR THE WALL!" For the truly stupid supporters of the lying draft dodger, "MEXICO WILL PAY FOR THE WALL!" Anything else – even one thin dime of taxpayer money - is unacceptable. The people of the United States of America DO NOT WANT TO PAY FOR A STUPID WALL! The only crisis in America is an ignorant, petulant, man-child squatting in our White House.


deaton

Rovr, Xanax try it! Get a script from your Dr. and try it when you feel like “blowing a gasket” here TNH comments. Mr. DOT


VA172

Here's some more cut and paste from our ignorant, petulant, man-child squatting in the comments section.


HwyRovr

“According to Healthcare.gov, all insurance plans must cover treatment for pre-existing medical conditions.” That is the ACA which the Republicans have tried nearly 70 times to dump and are continuing to try and do away with. And McSally is siding with the loser.

Sonny

Very good writing Mr. Lemons.

HwyRovr

Noticeably absent was her promise to make certain ACA protections would be kept in place, instead she’s sided with the lying, racist, draft-dodging, coward to destroy healthcare for millions of American. In case she forgot on 24 October last year she said she’s, "leading the fight" to "force insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions." Guess she lied – again.

VA172

Give me the name of at least one politician the hasn't lied.

HwyRovr

What does that have to do with the 11,000 documented lies told by the squatter in our White House?

VA172

The point is ALL politicians lie. You always want others to be specific, so list the 11,000 lies.


Can Of Corn

Name some fool.


VA172

"That" instead of "the".

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