13 On Your Side's Cody Lee receives exclusive information of the Senator's plans
DOUGLAS, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - On Friday, U.S. Senator Mark Kelly met with border officials along the United States border with Mexico. Just weeks into his term, Sen. Kelly touring a portion of the border.
He says infrastructure is a critical part of border security and things need to be upgraded.
“It's important for me to go and see this in person. So when I go back to serve in the U.S. Senate, I'll be there next week, I can work to get this as one of the GSA top priorities,” Sen. Kelly said.
Gallery: Sen. Kelly tours border
While visiting the Douglas port of entry, Sen. Kelly says the whole facility will undergo a full renovation.
“Clearly, and I think everybody agrees, it needs to be totally renovated upgraded the facility needs to be knocked down and rebuilt from the ground up,” the senator added.
That’s something we could also see happening, closer to home, at the San Luis entry.
There is partial funding for the project that was already approved. The senator is working to free up more money
“The San Luis port of entry got some funding here. But it wasn't complete it wasn't all the money that is needed to do the entire job with some conversations I've had with folks on the appropriations committee we've been able to sort some things out where they can use the money they've already received to design the entire facility,” Sen. Kelly explained.
Among other problems, agricultural workers are having to wait for hours to cross the border.
“Yuma County has some really unique needs a lot of agricultural workers as you know come across that border, every single day. And it needs to be more efficient, folks, having to wait, you know, four or five hours. Each morning to cross from Mexico and the United States is not good for our agricultural companies,” said Sen. Kelly expanding on the issue.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice released a report this week.
It finds the trump administration failed with a policy that resulted in the separation of more than 3,000 families. 611 children have still not been reunited with their parents.
“I do understand it's a challenge, and it's going to be a challenge but the president-elect has made this a priority for his administration to reunite those children with their parents. You know how do we do that. My understanding is it's not going to be easy, but they're committed this administration is committed and I'm going to do whatever I can to help,” Sen. Kelly said.
Experts say separation causes lasting emotional damage to children.
The newly-elected senator plans to visit and assess Yuma County’s ports of entry in the not too distant future.