Michael  Steele

When House Republicans passed legislation last December that secured our borders and put a premium on strict enforcement of our immigration laws, the American people had hope that their elected leaders had heard their demands.

Sadly, the legislation that is currently leading the debate in Washington shows our Senators have turned a deaf ear to the public. Despite last week’s action stopping it from coming to the Senate floor for a final vote, efforts are being made to tinker around the edges with this legislation and pass it later this year.

The better course of action is for our elected leaders to follow the no-nonsense direction being called for by hard-working, tax-paying, law-abiding citizens: Secure Our Borders Now!

The current Senate legislation is a mirror image of the approach passed by Congress in 1986 when it forced on us amnesty for illegal immigrants in exchange for border security.

The result of that misguided approach then is an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States now.

The American people are fed up and won’t be misled again. This Congress will be judged on their actions, not their words.

Congress must stop the flow of illegal immigrants across our border. Once we know who is in our country then we can take the next step in immigration reform.

The supporters of the current Senate legislation have stated that “triggers” are in place that prevent a “pathway to citizenship” until the borders are secured.

The problem is the bill’s “triggers” are basically meaningless since amnesty occurs regardless of whether the triggers are pulled. And besides, most of the triggers either are already in place or authorized by current law. For instance, Immigration and Customs Enforcement already has 27,500 detention beds, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is on schedule to have 18,000 Border Patrol agents in the next two years (they currently have almost 15,000 agents) and DHS is already required by law to build over 700 miles of fencing along the border (the 370 miles required by this “trigger” is actually a cut). In short, these “triggers” do not lead to true border security; but rather, greater insecurity for American families and businesses.

The current “comprehensive” immigration bill is purposely designed to permit the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants to legally live and work in the U.S. from day one and eventually to become permanent residents and then citizens. This is not the outcome the American people desire.


Michael Steele

Michael Steele is a former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland.
 
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