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Hobbs says she wants federal government to engage more with AZ border communities

During her first State of the State address this week, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs told members of the press she wants Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to visit the Arizona-Sonora border.

Mayorkas has visited border areas before. He accompanied President Joe Biden to El Paso, Texas, this month and came to San Diego’s border with Mexico last year. A bipartisan congressional delegation was also at the border in Yuma this week, speaking with local leaders. 

Hobbs said she wanted Arizona’s border communities to be able to connect with the federal government.

"I know that leaders in our border communities aren’t feeling heard by the federal government ... and they want to be heard  and have the issues they’re facing, as the result of being a border community, heard," she said.  

Neither the governor’s office nor DHS responded to questions about plans for the visit. It would be the latest in a flurry of visits by lawmakers and federal officers to various points along the U.S.-Mexico border over the last several weeks. It also comes as some Republican lawmakers continue their push for Mayorkas' impeachment. 

In a press conference earlier this month, Mayorkas announced a series of changes to asylum processing, including the expansion of Title 42, the pandemic-era protocol that allows border officers to quickly turn away migrants and asylum seekers on public health grounds. Other, newly announced programs will also allow some nationalities to apply to enter the U.S. on humanitarian grounds, but not from the border. 

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.