Vitter's View: Refocusing on Border Security and Enforcement
This week, I joined with a group of senators to create the U.S. Senate Border Security and Enforcement First Caucus, a coalition committed to fighting amnesty and improving our border security.
Our caucus will work to ensure that the laws already on the books will be enforced and act as the voice of those concerned citizens who have expressed their opinions time and time again in support of interior enforcement and border security instead of the amnesty proposals that have been offered. We will push for stronger border security and interior enforcement legislation, and we will work together in the U.S. Senate to defeat future amnesty legislation.
The current number of illegal immigrants is the highest the United States has experienced to date. One in 25 residents currently living in the United States is here illegally. Over the last seven years, 10.9 million immigrants arrived in America with more than half of them (five million plus) doing so through illegal channels.
The members of the Border Security and Enforcement First Caucus recognize that Congress has presented the American people with a false choice in solving the illegal immigration problem - give illegal aliens amnesty or round them up and deport them en masse. The principle mission of the caucus is to promote a true, achievable alternative: attrition through enforcement. Living illegally in the United States will become more difficult and less satisfying over time when government at all levels enforces the immigration laws already on the books.
Last year, the American people sent a clear message that amnesty is an unacceptable means of addressing our growing illegal immigration problem. Members of this caucus were listening, and we plan to make it our objective to push for interior enforcement measures that will address the illegal immigration problem without granting a free pass to millions of illegal aliens. As chairman of the caucus I will look for all legislative vehicles available to pressure government on all levels to enforce the immigration laws currently on the books, as well as strengthen enforcement measures.
My first actions as caucus chair were to introduce two bills focused on combating illegal immigration. The first bill will restrict Community Oriented Policing Services funding from going to cities with sanctuary policies. Sanctuary policies bar local law enforcement officials from inquiring as to the immigration status of suspects or reporting illegals to Immigration and Custom Enforcement for deportation.
The second bill I introduced requires that the identify of all individuals who are not American citizens be verified through a social security number, a passport number and the country of issuance, an alien identification card number or any combination of the three in order to ascertain their immigration status for the purposes of opening banking or credit card accounts. To prevent the use of matricula cards as a form of ID, the bill specifically designates unexpired passports as the only acceptable form of identification issued by a foreign government.
Please let me know your thoughts about what we should be doing to combat illegal immigration and about any issues of importance to you and your family by contacting me at any of my state offices or in my Washington office by mail at U.S. Senator David Vitter, U.S. Senate, 516 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510, or by phone at 202-224-4623. You can also reach me on the web at http://vitter.senate.gov.