Another summer of failure on Immigration
In the heat of the D.C. summer, there is yet another hot and fractured debate concerning illegal immigration. It appears our elected officials residing in Washington, D.C. have again failed to deal with the multitude of issues concerning illegal immigration. Democrats, Republicans, Congress and the President all share the blame in my eyes.
If we are to believe the rhetoric of our political leaders, there is apparent agreement that real border security is essential and should be done immediately; unfortunately political actions and political rhetoric do not always match up.
There is absolutely no reason why our elected officials should not support securing our border first while the debate continues on the more divisive and complicated issues. In my view, the Senate leadership and the President are wrong to demand that they will only support border security as part of a single massive immigration bill. The all or nothing demands will sadly lead to continued gridlock, leaving a porous border and millions of illegal immigrants in limbo. I believe the House of Representatives is on the right path with a stepped approach to comprehensive immigration reform.
A good starting place for real and meaningful reform is the construction of an effective border security infrastructure. An actual border fence and the proper surveillance technology will function to deter illegal border activity; this includes not only illegal immigration but will also significantly decrease the growing drug trafficking problem. A properly enforced border will not only reduce illegal activity, but it will help enforce legal and safe cross-border commerce.
Without question, border security is not simply a big fence. In addition to the physical infrastructure needed, our Federal government should be supporting local law enforcement through programs such as Operation Stonegarden. This grant program directs resources for the deployment of state and local personnel to further increase our presence along the borders. The National Guard and Coast Guard also have key roles to play in securing our border and should be supported with the necessary resources and political support.
The Senate proposal contains many immigration reform proposals well worth discussion and ultimately a Congressional vote. The Senate attempt to deal with the issues of amnesty, citizenship, work visas, fines, deportation and border security in one single complicated piece of legislation is not good government and seems to have zero chances of passing Congress and reaching the President’s desk.
A step by step approach makes the most sense and offers all points of view to be heard, debated and voted on. The only place to start is with actual border security. Doing nothing except the usual political posturing puts our security, our law enforcement officers, our economy and our people in harm’s way.
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