Small Steps Toward Immigration Reform
December 19, 2005
Congress passed an immigration bill last week that takes some small steps toward asserting control over our nation’s porous borders. I supported the bill despite its lack of substance, in the hope that it will move America in the right direction on the critical issue of illegal immigration.
measures in the bill sound good, but are in effect superfluous. Do we need new
legislation requiring the Department of Homeland Security to achieve
“operational control of the borders”? Shouldn’t the federal government
already have “operational control of the borders”?
is a road map for real immigration reform. First we need better enforcement of
the laws we’ve got-- which plainly call for illegal immigrants to be arrested
and deported and for our borders to be secured. These things are already law,
but the executive branch has failed to enforce them for decades.
we need to eliminate the two main magnets attracting illegal immigrants to
illegally enter the country, the welfare magnet and the citizenship magnet.
Failure to address these in an immigration bill raises questions about achieving
real results. That is why I introduced three amendments to this bill, in the
hopes that we can finally do something about the problem of illegal immigration.
I introduced an amendment to end so-called “birth-right citizenship,”
whereby anyone born on US soil is automatically an American citizen. I also
introduced an amendment to end the practice of providing US Social Security
payments to non-US citizens. And finally I introduced an amendment to prohibit
illegal aliens from receiving food stamps, student loans, or other federally
provided assistance. Without these magnets, we would know that everyone coming
to America wanted to work hard and support himself.
are some elements of this new bill to be applauded. Measures to require
detention of and expedited removal of aliens, for example, are a good step. Also
to be applauded is the requirement for an additional 250 inspectors at U.S.
ports of entry each year from 2007 through 2010, although this is unfortunately
subject to the availability of funds. But overall this bill is a weak substitute
for real immigration and border reform. As the Federation for American
Immigration Reform (FAIR) says, HR 4437 “treats some of the symptoms, it does
not, in fact, do enough to actually cure the illness.”
and the administration are still way behind the American people on the
American culture is rooted in political and legal traditions based on
liberty and constitutionally limited government—and we rightfully expect
immigrants to respect and learn about those traditions.
Real immigration reform, based on asserting our sovereign right to retain
a cultural identity, will be a huge issue in next year’s congressional
elections and the 2008 presidential election.