Larsen Votes to Limit Illegal Immigration, Protect Borders
December 16, 2005
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA) voted for a bill to address illegal immigration and stregthen border security. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives late this evening. Larsen had several concerns with the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act (H.R. 4437) and cautioned that without significant improvements as it moved through the Senate and House-Senate negotiations, the bill would not garner enough support to become law.
He released the following statement on his vote:
"Let me be clear. Illegal immigration is illegal, and it must be addressed. As a representative of a congressional district along a U.S. border, I have taken vote after vote to strengthen border security.
"The Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act takes us a step forward in addressing the illegal immigration problem in the U.S.
"It ends the ludicrous 'catch and release' process that allows arrested aliens to be released from detention and asked to appear before an immigration judge. An estimated 75 percent of these arrested and released immigrants fail to return for hearings, an obvious loophole in our enforcement system.
"This bill also puts more Border Patrol agents at our borders. I will continue to fight to make sure that we get our fair share of those agents at the Northern Border.
"The fact that this bill fails to put forth a credible temporary worker program is an omission large enough to drive a tractor through. I share the concerns of farmers and other employers in my district who, without a viable temporary guest worker program in this bill, are left in a catch-22 of needing workers and having some of those willing workers be undocumented.
"I hope that as this bill moves forward, House and Senate leaders seriously consider the unsustainable implications on law enforcement, taxpayers, and our criminal justice system if this bill actually forces us to try, prosecute and imprison every illegal immigrant in this nation.
"I urge my colleagues in the Senate to address some of these challenges in the bill and give us a border security bill that we can support without reservations."