Friday, June 29, 2018

Hartzler: Immigration problem is too important to give up on

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

For decades America has felt the repercussions of a failed, outdated immigration system that has rewarded those who enter this country illegally at the expense of those who have followed the law. 

This week and last week we voted on pieces of legislation that address illegal immigration where it starts – at the border – by allocating funding for a border wall and enhancing security measures that would drastically scale back illegal immigration into the United States. At the same time, these bills would have ended the visa lottery program and instead increased legal immigration for skilled workers needed in the United States. 

We can all agree that the separation of families at the border is upsetting, and this legislation would have put into law solutions that the President has advocated for. Finally, these measures would have provided renewable legal status for ‘dreamers’ who were brought to this country as children, helped stop further illegal immigration.

Unfortunately, after receiving no Democrat support in the House, both immigration reform bills fell short of passage.

Passage of these bills would have represented the most comprehensive immigration reform in thirty-two years, and I am disappointed that we missed this opportunity to address the illegal immigration problem in this country. Addressing illegal immigration begins with securing our borders, and the funding and security mechanisms within this legislation would have been a significant step in this direction. Although these bills were far from perfect, the reforms they would have provided are preferable to our broken system. The status quo only perpetuates this growing problem on our border, and inaction compounds the issue even further.

Next week we will regroup and see where to go from here. This issue is too important to give up on. I’m hopeful we will be able to advance at least some of these long-overdue measures.

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