U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9) and 32 of his House colleagues sent a letter to President Obama encouraging the president to include the Immigration Reform Caucus in an open, bipartisan discussion of the our nation's broken immigration system. Luetkemeyer is a member of the Immigration Reform Caucus (IRC).
"We are a nation of laws, and this means we have to enforce our nation's immigration laws and not reward illegal activities," Luetkemeyer said. "Illegal immigration impacts all of us, and Washington can no longer afford to keep kicking this can down the road."
The IRC has four main principles it hopes to bring to the meetings: border enforcement must be effective; enforcement at the worksite must be effective; illegal immigrants should not be given benefits that legal immigrants receive; and America should not support amnesty for illegal immigrants.
TEXT of letter from Luetkemeyer and colleagues to President Obama:
Dear Mr. President:
As members of the House Immigration Reform Caucus (IRC), we share your desire to fix our broken immigration system and would welcome the opportunity to be included in your current round of immigration meetings. While we are disappointed that the discussions to date have been limited to pro-amnesty stakeholders, IRC participation will add a diversity of views and solutions to the discussion.
Amnesty, in any form, does nothing to solve our illegal immigration problems. In fact, it exacerbates it by sending a clear signal that it is okay to violate our immigration laws because eventually that violation will be rewarded with an amnesty-pass. A right as valued as citizenship should not be obtained by an illegal act. Furthermore, it is inherently unfair and insults legal immigrants who have spent years playing by the rules to come to the United States. Worse yet, however, is the trust that is lost with the American public. Poll after poll has shown the American public's opposition to amnesty.
States have recognized this and have taken the opportunity to formulate their own strategy to address illegal immigration. There are few issues that impact the lives of our citizens more than the negative impacts of illegal immigration; from healthcare and education to public safety and employment, these impacts are far reaching and even more exacerbated in this troublesome economy. In short, what these states are collectively saying is that they can no longer afford the federal government's inaction on enforcing our immigration laws.
Real immigration reform must first address the primary draw for illegal immigration: illegal jobs. A starting point should be a mandatory nationwide implementation of the E-Verify system for businesses. You should be commended for implementing E-Verify for federal contractors, but that was just a first step. Now is the time to implement a mandatory program nationwide and help prevent the hiring of illegal labor. Another solution could be to deny wages paid to illegal employees being deducted as a business expense. These are common sense solutions that support the rule of law while protecting citizens and others that are lawfully authorized to work here.
Mr. President, immigration reform is not about making illegal aliens legal, it is about enforcing our laws to discourage illegal immigration while at the same time fixing our laws to encourage legal immigration. Closed door meetings solely with pro-amnesty groups will not solve our problems, an open bipartisan discussion could. Members of the Immigration Reform Caucus remain available to work with you to identify real solutions to address illegal immigration throughout the country.