Secure border and address daca to make progress on immigration

If you tried, it would be difficult to meet anyone who does not have strong feelings about our nation’s broken immigration system. It is an issue that drives an emotional debate regarding the future of our country.

In a recent interview, Chris Cabrera, a border patrol agent with the National Border Patrol Council referred to the situation at the Southern border, saying:
“We’ve had this situation going on for four years now, and for some reason we haven’t fixed it. I don’t think you can necessarily blame it on one administration or the other. It started under one and is continuing under another. It hasn’t been fixed and it needs to be fixed. Right now we have this beacon of, ‘We’ll leave the light on for you and let you come illegally into the country.’ If you’ve seen some of the stuff we’ve seen down here, you would understand just how important it is to have a tough stance to divert people from coming here. When you see a 12-year-old girl with a plan B pill, her parents put her on birth control because they know getting violated is part of the journey, that’s a terrible way to live. When you see a 4-year-old girl traveling completely alone with just her parents phone number written across her shirt.

Something needs to be done. We had a 9-year-old boy last year have a heat stroke and die in front of us with no family around. That’s because we’re allowing people to take advantage of this system. Let’s be honest here, if we want this law changed, then that’s on Congress. That’s on nobody else but Congress. They need to get to work and change this law.’’

Cabrera’s comments show that fixing enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws is needed now, and we should not allow the status quo to continue. Last Friday, I visited the Southern border and learned about the challenges border agents face every day. We need to secure our borders to prevent the cartels from trafficking drugs and people. It was clear based on everything I saw at the border that border security and immigration reform must go hand-in-hand.  

Last week, the House voted on legislation I cosponsored that would address the situation of families being separated, provide President Trump with the funds and authorization to secure the Southern border, and give legal certainty to 1.8 million Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)-eligible recipients. I believe that in order to move forward to fix the system, we must combine the President’s request for secure borders and closing loopholes with compassionate treatment of children brought here through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, that compromise legislation, endorsed by the President, failed to pass the House because on one side, Democrats refuse to give President Trump “a win” on border security, and on the other side, a minority of Republicans refuse to give legal certainty to DACA recipients.

Those of us who support both strong borders and immigration reform know that there is a middle ground if progress is to be made, and progress must be made because the status quo is unstainable. I for one will continue to work to fix our broken immigration system by appealing to reasonable people on both sides.

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