It is past time to start having a sensible discussion about how, why, and when people who want to live in our country can enter. As a grandchild of immigrants, I want that discussion to happen. I want to participate in it. Ours should be the land of the free and the home of the brave. It should not be the acceptable destination of mobs, criminals, and terrorists.
The immigration problem is not really about compassion. It is about border security. And it is about what happens when security is lacking.
Put aside for a moment the threat to national security that is occurring. And put aside the fact that most migrants are not really seeking “asylum.” As economic migrants, they are violating current laws that regulate legal admission and they are getting away with that. It is line cutting. And it is unfair to those immigrants who have been following the rules. Moreover, these economic migrants are putting a severe and unreasonable strain on our society. Increased costs of education, health care, and public safety are being imposed on all taxpayers. Most everyone agrees that a change is necessary.
But Shontel Brown does not even discuss immigration reform. It seems as if she does not think there is a serious problem. Like other progressives, she encourages a continuance of the status quo. The welcome mat is out and to hell with the consequences.
Shontel Brown is a partisan who never criticizes the Biden Administration. Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas says the southern border is secure and not open. But as cities like New York, Washington, and Los Angeles have discovered, he is not telling the truth. Every U.S. state has become a border state. The illegal crossing of 12,000 in a single day cannot be ignored. It demonstrates a serious problem that Shontel Brown and her fellow progressives refuse to acknowledge publicly. They have been silent while the Biden Administration has made it easier and easier for economic migrants to cross borders illegally and then stay.
Moreover, the sheer hypocrisy of progressives is on full display. They only wanted economic migrants to come to our country until they did come to their sanctuary cities. Their solution now is to ask all taxpayers to subsidize the migration and thereby encourage an even grater migration. That would solve nothing and make matters worse.
Real consequences occur because of failures to protect our national borders. Chinese men of military age and foreigners on terrorist watch lists are among the “got aways.” Too much fentanyl enters our country. Too many criminals cross the border. Unaccompanied children and women are at risk from sex traffickers. Millions have entered who lack vaccination against diseases like measles and polio. Many arrive without language or work skills and become public charges. Cities face increased costs at taxpayer expense for food, housing, education, and care. People who illegally enter our country are being rewarded. And all these situations are getting worse. There is a threat to public safety that should not be ignored.
I had to laugh when Secretary of State Tony Blinken recently described what he called “irregular migration” at the southern border. According to the latest data, several millions have entered our country illegally. That strikes me as very “irregular.” But it does not seem to bother Shontel Brown at all.
Proposed H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act of 2023 would have been a good first step. It would have restarted construction of the border wall, which even President Biden now seems to admit would be beneficial. H.R. 2 also would have deployed technology, increased the number of Border Patrol agents, strengthened laws to protect unaccompanied children, ended catch and release, and streamlined the asylum process. H.R. 2 presented a comprehensive approach to restoring security and public order. Shontel Brown voted against it. I would have supported it.
But H.R. 2 alone would not be enough. Even more measures are necessary. I would work with other Members of Congress to:
- Implement a national E-Verify program and protect American jobs for American workers.
- Defund sanctuary cities which harbor violent criminal illegal immigrants.
- End the incentives, like taxpayer-funded benefits, driving illegal immigration; and,
- Restore the “Remain-in-Mexico” policy – which kept migrants in Mexico while their immigration hearings proceeded, instead of releasing them into the U.S.
The Biden Administration ignores the rule of law. It consistently fails to enforce laws already on the books. For instance, it treats all who claim to be “asylum seekers” as if they potentially qualify. This results in “catch and release.” But they are given court dates with little likelihood they will appear. And current law requires that at least they are processed before they are released. That is not happening. The backlog of unprocessed illegals also has the effect of penalizing those truly eligible for asylum. They cannot get their cases decided promptly. Such disregard of law and such incompetence is not acceptable.
Worse, Shontel Brown consistently ignores many of the foreseeable consequences of massive illegal invasions of the southern border. For instance, House Resolution 5283, the Protecting our Communities from Failure to Secure the Border Act of 2023 would have prohibited federal funds from being used to house illegal immigrants on federal lands, including National Parks. It would have prevented converting these national parks from areas of recreation into virtual concentration camps for unvetted migrants. Shontel Brown voted “no” on it. This is yet another case in which unreasonable burdens are being placed on the public in the name of a “progressive” agenda. It also is a case of perpetuating an inhumane policy of de facto incarceration.
There remains a need for additional laws to allow legal entry of both skilled and unskilled immigrants. Our economy needs their talents and energies. They are the scientific, construction and agricultural workers of the future. But they must come to our country legally. Other countries have merit based immigration systems. It is time for our country to find out what types of workers are needed in our economy and help businesses obtain them.
And some groups deserve special consideration. “Dreamers” need a path to citizenship. They are innocent victims. They did not intentionally break the law when they first were brought to our country as children. Certain other classes of refugees deserve preferences. One example are Afghans who helped our soldiers in wartime and were forced to flee the Taliban. And preventing family separations should be a goal. That goal is not realized when smugglers use children as pawns.
Congress can fix the system, but only if progressives put aside partisan talking points and muster the will to compromise during negotiations and fix it. It needs more moderate members who understand how to reach true consensus.