Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) today issued the following statement after President Obama's immigration reform speech at American University:
"Americans are tired of empty promises where immigration is concerned. They are angry and alarmed by the increasing number of illegal immigrants and violent drug cartels along the borders.
"In his immigration reform speech, the President unfortunately outlined a path to citizenship for the over20 million illegal immigrants currently living in our country, when the majority of Americans -- including me -- oppose any form of amnesty. It only creates an incentive for illegal immigrants to hold out within our borders until they are no longer considered illegal. For what other criminal acts do we grant such immunity?
"California's unemployment rate is notably over 12%, one of the highest in the entire country, with some areas of my district, including Victorville and Palmdale, at upwards of 15-16% unemployment; and yet, the President is ready to grant citizenship to the eight million illegal immigrants currently in the U.S. labor force, thereby allowing them to fill jobs Americans desperately need and want.
"As a member of the Reclaim American Jobs Caucus in Congress, I firmly believe we should instead widely and strongly enforce current immigration laws and implement the E-Verify system to stop employers from hiring illegal immigrants. Audits and fines -- as outlined by the President -- will do nothing to reduce the hiring of illegal immigrants.
"Arizona opted to take a firm course of action against illegal immigration, and rather than support the state, the Department of Justice under the Obama Administration is threatening to file suit.
"The Reclaim American Jobs Caucus noted that the number of illegal immigrants in the labor force equals more than half of the total number of unemployed in 16 states and the District of Columbia. They are California, Arizona, New Jersey, Maryland, Texas, Nevada, Utah, New York, Virginia, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, Hawaii, Delaware and North Carolina. These states represent 53 percent of the U.S. total population.
"Speaker Pelosi and the President have failed to create promised jobs and are now primed to allow illegal immigrants to fill what jobs are available. It's of no surprise that a recent Associated Press poll found that only 36 percent of Americans approve of the President's handling of immigration. We must do better. We must enforce our laws and protect our borders."