Border Security Must Come First

Jun 18, 2013 Issues: Agriculture, Family Values, Happening in West Texas, Immigration

Border Security Must Come First

Last week, the Senate began debate on immigration reform. More than 1,000 pages long, S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, is a massive bill to overhaul our immigration system.  It has four major components: revamping our visa system to make it more responsive to our economic needs, requiring employers to use E-Verify to improve interior enforcement, improving border security, and creating a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the U.S.  These last two issues are where things get difficult. 


Too often, it seems like Washington politicians pay lip service to border control so they can push their other priorities.  I’m concerned that the Senate bill, as written right now, is doing the same thing.  As Texans, we know firsthand the importance of border control.  But this isn’t just a local issue—it affects national security.  Illegal immigrants are only part of the problem with an unsecured border—even more troubling are weapons, drugs, and people being trafficked into our country.  That’s why border security and interior enforcement can’t be an afterthought—they must be the cornerstone of any immigration proposal.  I’m also concerned that if we don’t strengthen our border security, ten years from now we’ll be right back where we are today—dealing with millions of undocumented workers. 


I also have some concerns with the path to citizenship in the Senate bill.  America was founded on a set of common principles and respect for the laws that bind us together.  While we are a land of immigrants, what makes us all American is our pledge to abide by our shared principles.  Granting citizenship to people who have broken the law is unfair to all of those who have abided by the rules and waited their turn. 


I’ve shared my priorities for immigration reform with you before, and they remain the same.  Before I could consider supporting any bill, it must address these issues: strengthening border security, reforming the lottery system, developing an effective guest worker program, and honoring the laws of our country.  I’ll keep you posted on the progress of this legislation, and I’ll continue to fight for your interests when it comes to immigration reform. 


Protecting Unborn Babies                                                                           

In April, I wrote to you about an abortion provider on trial for horrific late-term abortions.  Kermit Gosnell’s crimes highlighted the need to protect women and unborn babies from the horrific practices of doctors that perform these dangerous procedures.  This week, the House of Representatives will be voting on a bill that protects women from people like Gosnell and helps prevent horrendous abortions like this.  H.R. 1797, the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, stops dangerous and unethical abortions that not only endanger women, but also take the life of babies near birth and cause them tremendous physical pain in the process.  I’ve co-sponsored this legislation because I feel strongly that we must protect these innocent lives.  I’ve also worked to keep abortion providers out of public schools by introducing the PRO-LIFE Act.  As your Representative, I’ll never stop serving as a voice for the unborn who cannot speak for themselves. 


Action Item: Farm Bill

This week, the House of Representatives will consider H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 on the Floor.  This bill is the product of years of work.  The House Agriculture Committee held dozens of hearings to gather input on which programs are working, which need reform, and which are redundant.  The result is a bipartisan bill that reduces spending by $40 billion over ten years, repeals or consolidates more than 100 programs, and moves to a market-based system of crop support.  I’m looking forward to debating this on the House floor, and working to include more common sense SNAP reforms.