Capitol Report: Fixing the Border Crisis

Aug 15, 2014

Like you, I have watched and read news reports on the surge of unaccompanied children from Central America who are arriving in record numbers in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. These young people are making this dangerous passage through Mexico assisted by smugglers and then entering the United States. Make no mistake about it, the crisis at our southern border is directly connected to President Obama’s refusal to enforce current immigration laws.

On July 31, 2014 the House of Representatives was scheduled to be out of session. However, House Republicans were committed to passing thoughtful, but firm legislation to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into our country. The United States Senate had already left Washington for the August break without passing legislation to secure the border. President Obama was busy holding a press conference saying how Congress was unwilling to work with him. All the while House Republicans were working to craft policies that would fix the border crisis.

The House of Representatives ended up passing H.R. 5230, The Secure the Southwest Border Supplemental Appropriations of 2014. This legislation would secure the border, require enforcement of current immigration laws and close loop holes that prevented the deportation of illegal immigrants. The legislation would meet the immediate needs at the U.S.-Mexico border and would reimburse states that deploy National Guard units to the border. It is important to note that H.R. 5230 was fully paid for through reductions to existing federal funds and will not result in one penny of new spending. Additionally, the House of Representatives passed legislation to prohibit President Obama from issuing Executive Orders to grant amnesty to large groups of illegal immigrants.

These two pieces of immigration-focused legislation are supported by the Constitution and the Rule of Law. House Republicans are for abiding by the Constitution and recognize that Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 enumerates the power of establishing a “uniform process of naturalization” to the Congress. In the enumerated powers of the President, there is no mention of having a say in establishing a process for naturalization. The creation of all laws is left to Congress. The Constitutional power given to the President is to fairly implement the law. My colleagues and I in the House of Representatives will continue holding President Obama accountable for enforcing our laws.

The crisis along our southern border is a direct result of President Obama’s refusal to enforce federal immigration laws. If current practices continue, more and more people will continue to illegally enter the United States. It is my hope that leaders in the Senate will consider the legislation passed by the House of Representatives that would stop the flow of illegal immigrants at our Southern border and make President Obama enforce current immigrant laws.