Money Won't Stop Illegal Immigration; Enforcement Will
Congressman Elton Gallegly (R-CA24) issued the following statement today on the resurrected Senate illegal immigration bill that includes a promise to add $4.4 billion to the bill for border surveillance and workplace enforcement.
"I am strongly opposed to the new deal," Gallegly said. "Throwing money alone at a problem will never solve it. And we've been throwing money at the illegal immigration problem for years and under administration after administration, Democrat and Republican.
"The result has been more and more illegal immigrants because more money does not translate into enforcement.
"Money is not the problem. A lack of will to enforce our laws has been the problem. And until the federal governmentunder whatever administrationproves it will consistently and aggressively enforce our laws, guest worker programs are off the table. And amnesty remains completely unacceptable.
"Therefore, I propose a five-year program to be undertaken by this and the next administration. We need to require every employer to use a searchable database to verify employees as legal workers. Illegal immigration must be treated as a crime with criminal penalties. And we need to reduce the ability of illegal immigrants to work here.
"If, at the end of five years, the laws have been consistently and aggressively enforced, with a resulting decrease in illegal immigration, I will consider support of a guest worker program that is enforceable and equitable to American workers.
"The five-year program includes:
* "All U.S. employers must use the Basic Pilot Program to check the eligibility of their workers. The Basic Pilot Program, which became law under a provision I authored, is a verification system administered by Citizenship and Immigration Services that allows employers to confirm the eligibility of new hires by checking the personal information they provide against federal databases. It removes much of the paperwork currently required and replaces it with a phone call or a click of a mouse.
* "All employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants must be prosecuted.
* "All persons arrested by local, state, and federal authorities must be screened by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and if they are found to be illegal, held and deported after the disposition of their case. Illegal immigrants make up about 7 percent of the U.S. population (20 million out of 301 million), yet nearly 30 percent of inmates in federal prisons are illegal immigrants.
* "Federal law enforcement funds must be withheld from all declared sanctuary cities and municipalities. Illegal immigrants who come here must know that if they are caught, they will be deported. Period. That is a disincentive for them to come here in the first place. And those who aid and abet illegal acts should be prosecuted as well.
* "Likewise, federal education funds must be withheld from any state that provides in-state or otherwise subsidized college tuition for illegal immigrants.
* "Illegal immigrants must be treated for any traumatic or life-threatening conditions. But after they have been treated, they must be sent home.
"Members of 9/11 Families for a Secure America and I met recently with reporters to discuss the dangers of the Senate amnesty bill. Peter Gadiel, Bruce DeCell and Joan Molinaro are among an increasing number of Americans who have lost loved ones at the hands of illegal immigrants. As elected representatives of the American people, Congress and the President are charged first and foremost with protecting our citizens. The federal government fails if the laws Congress passes are not enforced.
"So I call on this and the next administration to enforce our laws. The American people will be watching."