Democratic U.S. Senator from Arizona | Former Astronaut and Navy Captain
Democrat Mark Kelly, the former astronaut and Navy captain, is a United States senator from Arizona. He gained national recognition as a gun regulation advocate following the 2011 non-fatal shooting of his wife, then-Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. After beating Martha McSally for the Senate seat in a 2020 special election, he was elected to a full term in the 2022 general election.
Kelly won election to the U.S. Senate by relying heavily on his military credentials, fervently stating that active-duty military should not be stationed at the border. In a 2019 interview he said, “Our military is designed to handle national security threats . . . typically overseas. To deploy active-duty military troops at the border, I personally don’t think that’s the right approach. They’re not trained for that.”
Like his fellow senator from Arizona Kyrsten Sinema, Kelly has focused his immigration legislation efforts on bills that reach across the aisle. Joining a coalition that included every senator from a southwest border state, with the notable exception of Texas Republican Ted Cruz, Kelly co-sponsored a bill aiming to reimburse border communities for the cost of rendering humanitarian services to migrants. And, in April 2022, Kelly joined with a bipartisan group of senators to introduce legislation opposing the Biden administration’s attempt to end Title 42 deportations.
In fact, Kelly has been at odds with President Biden’s immigration policies on several occasions. Although President Biden and his cabinet have tried to frame the influx of migrants on the southern border as a “challenge,” Kelly has used more heated words, describing the border as “chaos,” “a mess,” and “crisis after crisis.” In a debate with his 2022 general election opponent Blake Masters, Kelly called Biden’s attempt to end Title 42 “dumb.” Yet Kelly agrees with the same core issues as the president: passing the DREAM Act, building a more robust humanitarian response at the southern border, and conceiving of a more nuanced and varied approach to border security.
- Senate GOP reelection arm takes aim at Arizona’s Kelly over border security in new ad blitz FOX News — April 21, 2022
- S.256 - Southern Border Communities Reimbursement Act of 2021 Congress.gov — February 4, 2021
- S.1949 - Border Response Resilience Act Congress.gov — May 27, 2021
- S.327 - Border Business COVID–19 Rescue Act Congress.gov — February 12, 2021
- Kelly, Sinema, Bipartisan Group of Senators Introduce Bill Delaying End of Title 42, Ensuring Coordination and Communication with Arizona Border Communities Arizona Senator Mark Kelly — April 7, 2022
- Here's what Democrat Mark Kelly says about the border Rose Law Group Blog — July 2019
- Border Security and Immigration Mark Kelly Campaign Website
- Kelly: Border is porous, no opinion on single-payer health care Arizona Capitol Times — February 2019
- Mark Kelly on Fort Huachuca Funding Raid Mark Kelly Campaign Website — September 25, 2019
- Mark Kelly says building walls makes sense at some parts of the border KTAR News — July 2019
- Mark Kelly Statement on McSally's Support for National Emergency Mark Kelly Campaign Website — March 12, 2019
- Mark Kelly’s cry for help to Biden on the border The Washington Post — April 2021
- Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly distances himself from Biden's border 'mess' ABC News — October 7, 2022
- Kelly breaks with Biden over 'dumb' decision on immigration in heated Arizona Senate debate NBC News — October 6, 2022