blake masters Republican U.S. senatorial candidate Blake Masters prepares to speak during his election night watch party on August 02, 2022 in Chandler, Arizona. Masters, who has the blessing of former President Donald Trump, has seen his lead in the polls in recent days extend to double digits among likely GOP voters over businessman Jim Lamon and state Attorney General Mark Brnovich. He currently has the lead in the polls tonight with 36.9%.
Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A government shutdown would greatly affect Arizona’s economy in a variety of sectors, all in the name of promoting Masters’ personal agenda. 

Despite having no policy record whatsoever, Republican US Senate candidate Blake Masters has been very clear about his plans for national immigration policy. 

Masters has repeatedly said that he would support shutting down the government and blocking Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding in order to ensure the implementation of his draconian immigration proposals, such as tripling the size of Border Patrol and opposing a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers, who were brought to the United States as minors and are given temporary conditional residency and the right to work. 

Masters’ comments throughout his campaign further suggest that his motivation regarding immigration policy is racially-motivated. 

Motivated by Conspiracy Theories

In May, Masters said that the border crisis was ruining the country and repeated the “great replacement” theory, which, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, is the idea that demographic changes within the United States in recent years are a deliberate attempt by Democratic and progressive politicians to replace more conservative white voters. 

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“The left wants to bring in millions of illegal aliens and then they want to give these people amnesty,” Masters said on Real America’s Voice at the time. “They want to make these people voters. The left’s policies are so unpopular, they know they can’t win fair and square. So they’re just trying to manufacture and import a new electorate.” 

Not Looking to Compromise

Masters’ tone has stayed consistent in the intervening months. Back in June, at an Arizona FreedomWorks candidate forum, Masters vowed to withhold funding from DHS until President Joe Biden finished Trump’s border wall. 

“We have to play hardball,” he said. “What do you do with the people already here? The only thing the federal government is really good at right now is efficiently ferrying these people across the interior. Right? We don’t actually know where they are. But I’ll tell you what, when they pop up, when they have any negative interaction with law enforcement, boom, deported, back to El Salvador, back to Yemen, back to wherever they go.”

Masters says he’s “tired of Republicans compromising” with Democrats on border issues and has said that if elected, “there might be some deadlock for two years.” This would mean that until the United States implements the kind of racist border policies Masters supports, he wouldn’t be willing to pass any DHS funding.

Shutdown Would Leave 60,000 Arizonans Without Paychecks

Masters has even gone so far as to suggest that he would use a government shutdown as a partisan chess piece to get his way on immigration policy. This would threaten the livelihoods of Arizona’s 57,100 federal workers, including an estimated 3,700 US Customs and Border Patrol agents

Thanks to the government shutdown in 2018-2019–the longest in US history– we know what impacts a government shutdown would have on Arizonans. Arizona ranks 14th in terms of number of federal employees residing in the state, and thus the state faces significant consequences from a shutdown.

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In 2019, the Arizona Republic found that the shutdown forced more than 380,000 federal employees off the job in non-paid furlough status, while 420,000 others were required to work without pay

A shutdown would also affect soldiers, border patrol agents, and TSA and Veterans Administration employees, among other essential government positions.

An Economic Disaster

Previously, Congress has authorized pay retroactively once shutdowns end, but there is no guarantee what would happen should a shutdown occur in the coming months. But one thing is for certain: Masters’ threat of shutting down the government would affect Arizona’s economy, especially the airline industry and national parks.

In 2019, when TSA agents were forced to work without pay, many began calling out sick. In fact, unscheduled absences for the group reached nearly 7%. These staffing shortages were linked to longer airport wait times, and the shutdown raised concerns about air traffic controllers not reporting to work, which forced flight cancellations, and therefore negatively affected Arizona’s economy as a whole.

Arizona’s national park employees were also furloughed without pay, causing yet another hit to Arizona’s state economy. 

As outlined above, a government shutdown would greatly affect Arizona’s economy in a variety of sectors, all in the name of promoting Masters’ personal agenda. 

In contrast, Masters’ opponent, Sen. Mark Kelly has sought to break through gridlock, instead of promising it. Kelly has called for a stronger federal border policy to address gaps, introduced legislation to give Border Patrol a pay raise and create a new reserve force, and has balanced that with supporting citizenship for DREAMers.

Kelly and Masters will face off on Tuesday, Nov. 8, in a race that could determine control of the US Senate, and with it, the future of American immigration and border policy.

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