President Obama today delivered remarks on immigration reform that failed to clearly provide a plan or path forward on border security. Ongoing violence occurring throughout the U.S.'s southern border region continues to be a primary concern for many Americans. A majority of the criminal activity along the border occurs on federal lands where the U.S. Border Patrol is not permitted to have a steady presence, something the President failed to address in today's speech.
Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus and Ranking Republican on the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, recently introduced legislation [h.r. 5016]that would allow the Border Patrol to have a greater presence on federal land, as they do on state and private lands, located throughout the border region.
We can't solve the immigration issue without first securing the border; and more money and more boots on the ground won't be effective without greater access to the public lands on the border," said Congressman Bishop.
Nearly 40% of the U.S.-Mexico border region consists of federally owned and managed lands. Most recently, sections of national parks, wilderness areas and other federal lands near the southern border have been closed to the public due to Mexican drug cartels' control of the area.
"It is clear to me, more now than ever before, that President Obama and his Administration just don't get it. Today's remarks, which were heavy on rhetoric and light on substance, don't inspire confidence that this Administration has a concrete plan, or even the desire, to achieve full operational control of the border. The reality is that the U.S.-Mexico border is one of the primary entry points into the U.S. for smugglers, traffickers and other criminals - due in part to the unpatrolled federal lands that provide unmitigated access into the U.S.," Bishop added. "Today President Obama stated that the border is more secure today than it has been in 20 years. He has been misinformed. In reality, the porous southern border is one of the greatest threats to our national security and it's well known that things are getting worse, not better. Apprehensions may be down but it's widely known that it's not due to less trafficking and smuggling, but rather to our inability to adequately capture the criminals as they enter the U.S."
President Obama has recently traveled on taxpayer dollars to deliver remarks in Wisconsin, Toronto, Florida, Alabama, Michigan, and Maryland to name a few. However, he has never toured the southern U.S. border.
"If there is one issue that transcends party lines, it's the issue of border security. Nearly every American agrees that we must secure our border and put a stop to the ongoing violence. Yet, the President has made it very clear that the concerns of the American people take a back seat to his own political agenda. Trying to reform immigration policies before we secure the border is foolish. If your bathtub is overflowing, you don't deal first with the water already in the tub. You first turn off the faucet to stop the flow. We can't solve the immigration issue without stopping the flow by first securing the border," Bishop concluded.