Bob Barr

A sinking boat can be kept afloat by bailing water only so long before it inevitably sinks. Democrats in Congress are once again calling for the pails as America continues to flood with illegal immigration from leaks at the border. Rather than dealing with the source, Democrats are content to go down with the ship – pails in hand.

Estimates on the number of illegal aliens in the United States vary greatly; but none are insignificant. According to CNN, there were approximately 11.5 million illegal aliens in the United States in 2011. Yet, only 400,000 were deported the following year – a mere 3.4 percent. And, those sent back were simply replaced with hundreds of thousands more who exploited border vulnerabilities to enter the country.

Faced with this reality, the only logical approach to immigration reform is to begin fixing the problem at the source: secure the border. Democrats, however, want to start with opening the floodgates, and dealing with the economic consequences post hoc. If the ObamaCare disaster is any indication of what happens when Democrats tinker with a system they do not understand, we have ample reason to worry about this “let’s see what happens” approach to immigration reform.

Republicans respect America’s borders, and we intend to keep them. This is one reason Republican leaders in the Congress must continue to demand that any immigration reform begin with a focus on improving border security. Border security is more than a matter of keeping the immigration process well regulated and appropriately maintained. It is a matter of national security that cannot simply be glossed over. If we do not know who is coming in and going out of our country, then even the hundreds of billions Obama pumped into his domestic snooping programs will not keep Americans safe.

Only after the border is verifiably secure can we then move to find solutions for improving the immigration process in a way that strengthens American businesses by taking advantage of skilled, immigrant labor. The value of immigration cannot be understated, but it must be managed and controlled. Immigration reform also must be managed to our economic benefit. Some previously proposed legislation provides a worthwhile roadmap for this aspect of immigration reform. For example, the SAFE for America Act (H.R. 704) replaces the flawed, arbitrary Visa Lottery program that is based on chance, with a program based on workforce needs.

Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.