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Congress Should Address
Policies put in place by the Obama Administration are
responsible for the urgent, growing and heartbreaking crisis on our nation’s southern border.
For five and a half years, the president has gone around Congress
to ignore, defy and alter laws in a variety of areas, from Obamacare implementation to issuing excessive
new labor and environmental rules to infringing on religious freedom. It is no different with immigration
policy, where President Obama has unilaterally deferred enforcement of U.S. immigration laws for many
currently here illegally.
His actions have encouraged many in Central America to risk their
lives, or the lives of their loved ones, to enter the United States illegally under the false belief
that they will be forgiven or granted outright amnesty.
It is largely this assumption, more than recent spikes in crime,
that is responsible for the sudden surge of 60,000 unaccompanied Guatemalan, Honduran and El Salvadorian
children who have been apprehended on America’s southern border since last October. An additional
60,000 family members – one or both parents traveling with their children – also have been
apprehended during this period.
This situation does not simply affect border states. The administration
recently announced they have sent hundreds of unaccompanied alien children to Indiana communities, with
As if President Obama’s previous actions have not done enough
harm, he has threatened to “fix” the crisis he helped create.
Crises like this illustrate why our federal government has a system
of checks and balances that encourages debate and input by our nation’s 535 lawmakers – an
all hands on deck approach – rather than let policy be dictated by one individual.
The president’s justification for issuing another round of
executive orders is congressional inaction.
While I share the president’s frustration with the general
inability of Congress to get things done, the House of Representatives has passed legislation addressing
this issue, and I have cosponsored a similar measure in the Senate.
The House-passed legislation would make several changes to current
immigration law to allow quicker repatriation of unaccompanied alien children while ensuring due process
for asylum claims. The legislation also would prevent the president from expanding the deferred action
program and provide funding for border security, law enforcement and humanitarian assistance activities,
without adding to the debt.
I am hopeful that the Senate will fully debate this issue, rather
than seek to simply throw money at the situation without taking any steps to address the current flood
of illegal immigrants.
As part of a long term strategy to stem the tide of illegal immigration,
we first have to put an end to the false notion that if you illegally enter the United States, you can
While we must take steps to ensure the safety and well-being of
unaccompanied children currently in the United States, we also must reunite these children with their
families in their home countries as soon as possible.
Parents will see children returned home, and perhaps not spend the
money and risk the danger of sending their children away. We must deter children from even starting this
As the son of an immigrant, I am keenly aware of our nation’s
diverse background. While we are a nation of immigrants, we are a nation of legal immigrants who followed
the law to better their lives and the lives of their children.
The House-passed proposal is a reasonable approach that will address
this crisis more effectively than the classic Washington response of throwing money at a problem with
hopes of fixing it later.
What message would we be sending if we allowed the status quo to