As many of you know, we currently have a crisis along our southern border. While the White House continues to claim that border security is at its strongest in history, tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have illegally made their way into the United States this year. The administration’s slow reaction to this problem and failure of leadership has led to this humanitarian crisis. To add insult to injury, as tens of thousands of minors stream across the border, the president refuses to properly acknowledge the issue or even visit the border despite his most recent trip to Texas.
The administration’s policies have directly resulted in the belief by these immigrants that once they reach U.S. soil, they will be able to stay here indefinitely. This has only encouraged other families in Central America to put their children at risk to make the dangerous journey. My heart breaks for these children who are forced to trek hundreds of miles while being subjected to unimaginable hardships and abuse. It is imperative that we reunite them with their families in their home countries to ensure their safety and discourage other unaccompanied minors from enduring this dangerous journey. I’m proud to cosponsor The Expedited Family Reunification Act of 2014 (H.R. 5053) a bill that will update our current immigration policy and allow us to quickly return these children home to their families, sending a clear signal that those who arrive here illegally will not be allowed to stay.
While President Obama has presented Congress with a request for emergency funding to solve this crisis, the request does not take concrete steps to secure our border, remove the unaccompanied minors or deter future immigrants from attempting to come to the United States illegally. Out of the total request of nearly $4 billion, the Department of Homeland Security receives a total of $1.5 billion, of which only $432 million is for actual border security by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. Of the overall request, merely 11 percent is actually used to secure the border. Even more outrageous, the request calls for more money for wildfire suppression, at $615 million, than for border security. This is completely unacceptable.
The fact is, our border is not secure. As a member of the Homeland Security Committee, I know the importance of securing our border first and upholding the current rule of law. This is not just an immigration issue - it is a national security issue. We must be able to make intelligent decisions about who and what crosses our borders. If thousands of unaccompanied minors are able to make the journey across our border, then our government has shown it is unable to stop terrorists, human traffickers, drug cartels and others that wish to harm the United States.
We must secure the border, enforce our laws, stem the tide of migrants, and ensure that these individuals are dealt with in a humane manner that is consistent with the American ideals of compassion and family unity. As Congress debates a long-term solution to end this crisis, I will continue to focus on securing our borders first.