Weekly Columns

We Must Enforce Our Nation’s Immigration Laws

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Washington, June 20, 2018 | Lani Short (202-225-6356) | comments

Since taking office, President Trump has rightfully focused on improving our country’s border security, discouraging illegal immigration, and reforming our immigration process to prioritize entry based on merit and skills of national need. He has also indicated his interest in signing into law a policy that addresses the status of millions of young children who did not come here legally but were brought through no fault of their own and have grown up in America. For months now, the president has called on Congress to take up legislation that will address what are referred to as the president’s four pillars of immigration reform, which begin with enforcement of our immigration laws.

As you may have read, there has been a great deal of debate over one of the administration’s enforcement policies that resulted in children being separated from their parents. What’s clear from this debate is no one wants to see families and children separated. President Trump was right to sign an executive order this week that will ensure children are kept together with their families if they are detained for crossing the border into the United States. The House plans to take up legislation later this week to codify this policy. But the President is also right that selectively enforcing our immigration laws has incentivized illegal border crossings because many of those coming here illegally feel there is no consequence to doing so. During the previous administration, families who were captured crossing the border illegally were released to wait for a court date and many failed to show, which incentivized additional families to follow that example believing that meant a free pass into our country. It’s vital that we enforce immigration law fairly for everyone that wishes to emigrate – including the men, women and families that are waiting in line. Illegal border crossings are most unfair to the people who went about coming to this country the right, legal way, while others took shortcuts and want a free pass.

I’ve said time and time again we need comprehensive immigration reform in this country that begins with border security. As a lawmaker, I have a duty and obligation to protect and uphold the laws to protect the American people. This Tuesday, President Trump met with House Republicans to encourage us to consider commonsense legislation based on his four pillars that will improve our immigration system. I’m confident Congress and the administration can work together to come up with a solution to build a safer and stronger America. This week, the House is expected to vote on two bills that prioritize a secure border and end many immigration loopholes that are unfair to hardworking Americans, and the many immigrant families who patiently waited in line through the legal process.

The Securing America’s Future Act, which I have cosponsored, strengthens our border security and includes funding for a wall at our southern border; eliminates immigration loopholes; and transforms our immigration process to a merit- and skills-based process. This legislation will also limit funding to sanctuary cities and will make E-Verify mandatory for those coming across our border. Additionally, the House will consider the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, which also authorizes funding for our border wall; eliminates immigration loopholes; ends catch and release; replaces the visa lottery program with a merit-based green card program; and requires the Department of Homeland Security to keep families together at the border. The President told members he supports both bills, and I look forward to their consideration.

Americans are the fairest people on the earth, but we can’t expect law-abiding citizens and legal immigrants to obey the law while allowing others to come here illegally with no penalty. Illegal immigration is a serious threat to national security, one that is a very expensive burden to hardworking taxpayers. Something must be done to solve this problem, which is why Congress and President Trump are working in tandem to do more to uphold and reform our nation’s immigration laws.

Feel free to contact my office if I can be of assistance to you or your family.

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