Monday, March 14, 2016

Graves: We must enforce visa laws

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

There are nearly 12 million immigrants living in this country illegally; drawing welfare benefits, sending their children to public schools, and pushing down wages for American workers.

And while liberal politicians and poor border protection have contributed to illegal immigration numbers, the problem extends well beyond amnesty and open borders.

Last week in Kansas City we saw the tragic consequences of the failure to enforce immigration laws. Right now, the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for making sure all immigrants temporarily living in the U.S. do not overstay their visas. To make that possible, the department is required to use a process known as biometric exit tracking at all domestic air, sea, and land ports.

But in many cases DHS fails to fulfill its responsibility, and in others it ignores the requirement entirely.

On Thursday I introduced a bill to change that. H.R. 4726, the Preventing Illegal Visa Overstays Act, will withhold the Secretary of DHS' salary until the Department does its job and tracks down all immigrants living here on an expired visa.

DHS’ failure to follow biometric tracking laws adds millions to the illegal immigrant population. Congress examined this issue in a hearing earlier this year, where it was estimated that as many as 40% of all people living in America illegally are here on expired visas.

If we don’t enforce visa laws, we basically have open borders. DHS has got to take advantage of the technology and resources we have to keep illegal immigration numbers down, and my bill will make sure that happens. It’s not just a matter of economic security, it’s a matter of national security.

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