/ Modified apr 29, 2021 5:25 p.m.

In letter to Biden, Rep. Grijalva calls on end to border wall construction, revamp to asylum processes

The southern Arizona representative said federal, state border plans should include local groups

Southern Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva sent a letter to President Joe Biden this week asking for a formal end to the border wall and a revamp of the process migrants go through to claim asylum.

Though his 60-day pause on construction ended last month, Biden has still not said what’s next for his predecessor’s border wall. Grijalva said he and other southern Arizona stakeholders want the new administration to follow through on a promise to end construction for good, and to consider removing parts already build in sensitive areas like Quitobaquito Springs.

His letter also calls for the repeal of the Real ID Act, the 2005 law that allowed the Trump administration to bypass a host of cultural and environmental protection laws to push wall construction through.

Arizona’s border is under sharp focus now as Governor Doug Ducey announces a state of emergency and a National Guard deployment. But Grijalva said actually addressing the issues facing the region requires the participation of communities here.

"The whole situation begs for a solution that is long term and that involves cooperation and the involvement of local communities along the border," he said.

Grijalva said to address the current increase in migration, the federal government should engage local aid groups and community organizations who already have experience working on border issues.

This week, Governor Doug Ducey announced Arizona's State Emergency Council voted to allocate more than $2.5 million in state money to fund a Arizona National Guard border deployment to the border.

The deployment will cost the state a totat $25 million, an amount Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly have asked the federal government to cover.

Grijalva called the deployment a "unilateral" decision by Ducey and said he's opposed to asking for federal assistance to foot the bill. Though the governor has made two trips to the border to speak with Border Patrol officials and county sheriffs in recent months, aid groups addressing COVID testing, transportation and care for migrants say they weren't asked to join the governor's discussions, and would rather see state funds directed elsewhere.

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