Friday, December 12, 2014

Addressing Illegal Immigration‏

Illegal immigration is one of the many issues Congress needs to address. Not only are millions of people in our country without legal status, but there has been a surge of unaccompanied, undocumented children crossing our border this year.

We are a nation of immigrants. Nearly every aspect of our nation, our culture, and our economy has been shaped by those who immigrated here and their descendants. However, illegal immigration poses a risk to our national security, burdens our communities, and threatens children who are often forced to cross an increasingly dangerous border alone.

The President’s recent executive orders are not a solution to the problem of illegal immigration; in fact, they will likely make the problem worse. History has shown granting amnesty to millions of undocumented immigrants only encourages others to break our immigration laws.

Several states including Nebraska are fighting back by suing the President for overreaching his authority. I signed an amicus brief this week in support of the case. I also voted in favor of legislation in the House which would prohibit the President from deferring deportation of undocumented immigrants.

The House also passed a government funding bill this week which limits funding to the Department of Homeland Security to early next year. This legislation removes the threat of a government shutdown and will allow Congress to debate the President’s amnesty plan next year when Republicans control both the House and Senate.

The executive orders make it more difficult for Congress to address this problem in a bipartisan way. The President has made no effort to work with Congress to address this problem. Instead he has acted unilaterally while insisting the House forgo its role in the legislative process and rubber stamp a Senate-passed bill.

The President’s failure to perform his Constitutional duty to enforce laws undermines our system of government and reinforces the gridlock plaguing Washington. Solutions will require both sides to work through regular order to come to an agreement.

Until we are able to come to an agreement, there are steps we should take to improve national security and protect the children coming to our country. For example, providing notification to states when unaccompanied minors are placed there. There was no notification to the State of Nebraska when more than 200 minors were moved to the state this year – even though the state is responsible for the well-being and education of these children.

This week, I testified on H.R. 5129, legislation I introduced which would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to give states advanced notice when unaccompanied minors are to be placed in the state. This legislation would be a small but important step to addressing the problem of illegal immigration, but much more will need to be done to protect children, secure our border, and restore the balance of power in Washington.

ABOUT the AUTHOR:

Congressman Adrian Smith from Nebraska serves on the Committee on Ways and Means. Congressional Rural Caucus (Chair), Congressional Rural Veterans Caucus (Chair), Modern Agriculture Caucus (Chair), Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, Congressional Western Caucus and Congressional General Aviation Caucus.

Smith has been noted for his consistent voting against tax increases, massive government bailouts, and in his opposition of the affordable healthcare act (aka ObamaCare) which is creating massive uncertainty for our nation's job creators. Smith, a co-sponsor of the Balanced Budget Amendment and a supporter of a Congressional earmark moratorium, has earned a reputation as a solid conservative through his votes to protect the rights of gun owners, efforts to limit the scope of government, and his strong pro-life voting record.

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