I believe our immigration system is broken. I support legal immigration, but we cannot continue to overlook the problems associated with illegal immigration, including the strain it places our nation’s financial resources. The federal government must secure our borders, address illegal immigrants already living in America, and reform the process of becoming a legal immigrant.
In the 113th Congress, I opposed the Senate-passed comprehensive immigration reform. I believe we should look instead at some common sense steps that will improve our immigration system. For instance, we should ensure our farms continue to have the workers they need to put food on our tables, we should expand E-Verify to give businesses the tools they need to comply with the law, and we should give priority to immigrants based on the skills they will provide to our country instead of meeting a geographic quota.
As a member of the Immigration Reform Caucus, I do not think we should reward those who illegally reside in America, and I reject efforts to provide amnesty to these individuals. I am also adamantly opposed to providing federal benefits to illegal aliens.
Securing Our Borders
I have long said the first step to fixing our broken immigration system is regaining control of our borders. I agree with President Trump that building a wall – whether it is a physical wall, a virtual wall, or some other barrier – may be an effective way to help secure the border and prevent illegal immigration. If we continue to have a porous border, we will never solve the problem. Americans are the fairest people on the earth, but we cannot expect law-abiding citizens and legal immigrants to obey the law while allowing others to come here illegally with no penalty.
In recent years, our southern states have experienced a surge of immigrants crossing the border illegally – mostly children – that threaten to overwhelm local services and resources. We must address the heart of the crisis, which is that immigrants are making a dangerous journey, risking their lives because of a mistaken belief they will be allowed to stay and ultimately be granted citizenship. The most compassionate, humane solution we can adopt ensures immigrants are returned quickly and safely to their families.
As the threat posed by ISIS continues to grow, we must make every effort to keep Americans safe and prevent groups like ISIS from exploiting our country’s generosity by targeting our country’s laws. On January 27 and March 1, 2017, President Trump signed executive orders to temporarily halt the entrance of individuals from countries with a history of supporting terrorism into the United States. I support President Trump’s actions to prioritize the security and safety of American citizens. The United States must take great care to properly screen and vet potential refugees from countries with terrorist organizations like ISIS, who are known to be actively trying to exploit the refugee crisis to give terrorists entry into their foreign targets.
In addition, I am also a proud cosponsor of H.R. 80, the Resettlement Accountability National Security Act. This legislation, introduced by Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX), places a moratorium on all refugee resettlement programs until the Government Accounting Office (GAO) has the opportunity to complete a thorough study on the national security impact and costs of these programs to federal, state, and local governments. This legislation would offer us the time to review the national security risks of these programs and ensure American safety at home.
I am a cosponsor of H.R. 400, the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act. This bill, introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), cuts off federal development funding grants for jurisdictions that have policies in place that prohibit or restrict communication with the Department of Homeland Security regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status. While we can and need to do more to address this refusal to enforce the law, this bill was an important first step to end sanctuary cities and send a clear message that immigration reform must begin with a commitment to the rule of law. If we are willing to allow cities to decide for themselves whether they will abide by our immigration laws, how can anyone trust that laws meant to secure our borders will be effectively enforced?