Weekly Columns

Illegal Immigration is a Serious Threat to America’s National Security

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Washington, April 25, 2012 | comments

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court justices heard arguments regarding Arizona’s immigration law. The way I see it, Arizona is simply trying to enforce our basic immigration laws that make it illegal to be in our country without a visa or proper citizenship. With nearly 12 million illegal immigrants in this country, it is clear that our system is broken and the federal government needs to enact and enforce strict immigration laws in order to protect the citizens of our country. The problem with illegal immigration has gone on too long, and the Arizona law is an attempt from states to address a problem that the federal government has not. 

The law would allow state and local law enforcement in Arizona to enforce federal immigration statutes, but it has been struck down at the district and appeals court levels. This hearing is a product of the Obama Administration filing a legal challenge against the new Arizona immigration law, originally claiming it is unjust because it will lead to “racial profiling”. However, the Obama Justice Department is now arguing the law violates the Constitution’s supremacy clause, which states that the Constitution, federal laws and treaties supersede state laws. 

I personally see the supremacy clause line of attack as questionable since it would seem that Arizona is simply trying to enforce our basic immigration laws, which make it illegal to be in our country without a visa or proper citizenship. The Arizona law, known as SB 1070, requires police officers to verify the legal status of people if the officer is suspicious that the person is in the United States illegally. The bill makes it a state crime to be in the country without authorization. 

According to Reuters, several U.S. Supreme Court justices in the hearing today voiced support for Arizona's effort to crack down on illegal immigration, appearing to reject Obama administration arguments that the federal government has sole responsibility for dealing with people who illegally enter the United States.

As a member of the bipartisan Immigration Reform Caucus, I have cosponsored a number of immigration reform bills, including H.R. 2000, the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act.

The SAVE Act offers a three-part plan to drastically reduce illegal immigration, which includes a strict emphasis on border security, the verification of an employee’s legal status, and increased enforcement of existing laws. H.R. 2000 would hire 6,000 additional new Border Patrol agents and 1,150 new ICE agents. In addition, it provides the tools necessary to ensure the INS agents can successfully protect our borders, including additional vehicles, better infrastructure, new facilities, lighting units, weapons, and armor. 

The SAVE Act also expands E-Verify and makes it available for use by every employer over a four-year period. This will benefit employers because they will be able to efficiently check whether or not their employees are legally authorized to work in the United States.  If the federal government would do their job and pass legislation such as the SAVE Act, Arizona would not have a need to enforce SB 1070, and they would not be on trial for the law today.

Illegal immigration is a serious threat to our national security, one that is very expensive and a burden to hardworking taxpayers.  Furthermore, there is a national debate over what to do with the 12 million illegal immigrants in the country. Something needs to be done to solve this problem. The federal government needs a comprehensive solution to the problem of illegal immigration that starts with securing our borders. 

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