BORDER PROTECTION, ANTITERRORISM, AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CONTROL ACT OF 2005 -- (Extensions of Remarks - December 17, 2005)
HON. PAUL RYAN
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2005
The House in Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 4437) to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to strengthen enforcement of the immigration laws, to enhance border security, and for other purposes:
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, after long deliberation and discussion with the bill's author, I decided to vote ``aye'' on H.R. 4437. This bill is far from complete, and far from being ready to become law. Yet, it has become clear that Congress will deal with immigration reform through several stages in a long process during the next session of the 109th Congress. I supported H.R. 4437 to begin this process, so we can ultimately achieve comprehensive immigration reform.
Among the provisions I believe are instrumental toward achieving such reform are the reforms to secure our borders. Border security is no longer simply an issue of illegal immigration. It is an issue of national security, where we are vulnerable to terrorist infiltration. This proposal offers a comprehensive way to address this threat.
However, I have several concerns with this legislation that must be addressed in order to receive my support for a final, comprehensive solution to fixing our broken immigration system.
First and foremost, the provision in H.R. 4437 that makes undocumented alien status a federal felony is totally unacceptable. Prior to the bill's passing, I received a commitment from the author, Chairman SENSENBRENNER, that this provision will be removed. Second, the employer verification system proposed in this bill is unworkable and must be fixed. Third, a final bill should include the creation of a secure, legal channel by which foreign workers needed to keep the United States' economy growing may enter and leave the country. And, finally, we must bring into the open, in a reasonable and fair manner, the millions of immigrants who are living in our communities without any documentation. Failure to address all of these issues will simply prolong our broken immigration system.
Because Congress is so divided on how to achieve comprehensive reform, it has become clear to me that such reform will occur in stages over the course of the next year. I look forward to working with my colleagues in both political parties to make sure the final version of this legislative effort is one we can all be proud to support.