Udall Statement On President's Address On Immigration
(Washington, DC) - Congressman Mark Udall (D-Eldorado Springs) released the following statement in reaction to the president's prime time address on immigration:
"There is no question that we must do more to secure our borders - but how we go about securing them is also important. There are common-sense steps we can take now, such as adding more Border Patrol agents and developing and utilizing technology. Even though the 9/11 Commission recommended and Congress authorized substantial increases in funding for more agents on the border, House Republicans have refused to provide these funding increases.
"Deploying the Guard is a temporary fix at best. Under the president's plan, the Guard would only be used until significant additions to the existing civilian border patrols can be fully funded, so why not just fund more Border Patrol agents to begin with?
"I support using our military to enhance border security under certain circumstances, but our National Guard is stretched awfully thin. Many Guard members are deployed overseas and states depend on the National Guard as the first line of defense against natural disasters and homeland security emergencies.
"If the president is serious about border control - and not just concerned about sagging poll numbers - he will agree that bolstering our Border Patrol should be the first step he takes.
"Reassuring the American people that we have taken strong action to strengthen enforcement and secure our borders is necessary for the harder and more complicated task of addressing the problem of existing illegal and undocumented workers. With stronger border security and enforcement, we can work to build a consensus for clarifying the status of existing illegal immigrants, most of whom are hard-working and otherwise law-abiding people, in a thoughtful way that will establish a fair and more secure process for legalized entry.
"We must conduct this debate in a civilized manner and use this as an opportunity to unite the country and pass a sorely-needed comprehensive immigration reform bill."