Friday, August 21, 2015
Billy Long: We must secure our border
America is a nation built upon the Rule of Law and a Constitution providing instruction on how government must work. Over the course of recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of immigrants illegally crossing our borders or remaining past their legal stay in the U.S. and a decrease in federal law enforcement. It has led to the perception that America is soft on immigration law and an influx in alien population, and some have paid a heavy price for it.
According to data from the House Homeland Security Committee, there were about 487,000 apprehensions for illegal crossings at our borders during Fiscal Year (FY) 2014. Of those 487,000 apprehensions, only 214,000 were immediately turned away. More than 102,000 were allowed to stay and were removed at a later time. With relaxed policy, nearly 273,000 were caught and released at the border with 170,000 remaining at the end of FY14. Further, deferred action and prioritization for removals, as President Obama’s November 2014 executive actions would further implement, have enticed more to illegally migrate to the U.S. and increase its appeal, which could lead to safety and security risks for Americans – whether it be a porous border and relaxed enforcement allowing terrorists to slip through undetected, increasing drug smuggling and cartel influence or granting safer harbor for criminals.
In July, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, with five deportations and seven felonies including narcotics offenses under his belt, shot and killed Kate Steinle while she was walking with her family in San Francisco. This tragedy is an unfortunate combination of unintended consequences from San Francisco’s “sanctuary city” status allowing its ignorance of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act and the selective enforcement of federal immigration laws. The fact that Sanchez had seven felonies and had been deported five times only to return is a prime reason why we must secure our borders to discourage the constant flow of illegal immigration and re-entry of deported criminals. Atrocities, such Steinle’s murder, could have been avoided if the Rule of Law been respected and upheld.
I continue to be support immigration reform beginning with securing our border and strict enforcement of immigration laws already on the books, such as the 1996 law the Obama Administration has allowed many cities and states to ignore. We must make sure those legally trudging through the process get fair treatment. I strongly support legislation that would accomplish reform, such as the Secure Our Borders First Act and the Immigration Compliance Enforcement Act. Until real reform is accomplished, America will not be totally secure.