Today, Congressmen Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo), Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville), and Congressman Beto O'Rourke (D-El Paso), united against Corker-Hoeven Amendment.
In 1987 Ronald Reagan famously challenged Russia by declaring: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." We object to the Corker-Hoeven Amendment. This amendment will condition a pathway to citizenship on the construction of additional border fencing. As congressmen actually representing communities along the US-Mexico border, and having grown up there ourselves, we believe this amendment is an outrageous assault on border culture; and is an ineffective and misguided attempt to solve this country's immigration issues. For these reasons, we want to be clear: We will oppose any attempt to condition a pathway to citizenship on the construction of additional fencing along the US-Mexico border.
From an economic standpoint, the Corker-Hoeven Amendment defies all conventional logic; at a time when we should be tearing down existing walls as opposed to building new ones, this amendment ignores the dynamic economic relationship between the United States and Mexico which accounted for more than $500 billion in trade last year alone. Additionally, the environmental impact of this proposal is devastating. Constructing more walls will destroy miles and miles of environmentally sensitive public and private property, which protect significant wildlife and natural resources. We must also protect private property rights.
This wall is not an effective tool in our war on terror. The terrorists who attacked New York City in 2001 did not enter this country through the US-Mexico border. The Boston Marathon bombers did not enter this country through the US-Mexico border. It is no more likely that terrorists will attempt to enter this country through the US-Mexico border than through any other entry point on the Northern Border, the Pacific Coast or the Eastern Seaboard.
The construction of the wall proposed by the Corker-Hoeven amendment does nothing to address the real problems fueling the migration of immigrants across the border. Since 2006, approximately 71,500 people have been killed as a result of cartel violence. Although Mexico's economy has performed exceedingly well in the recent past, economic conditions along the US-Mexico border consistently remain stagnant. Any real attempt by both countries to stop the flow of immigrants must include smart and humane border enforcement in the United States, a comprehensive effort to eliminate cartel violence and a concerted plan to enhance economic development on both sides of the US-Mexico border.
We are still strong supporters of comprehensive immigration reform, but not like this. The U.S. needs to invest in improving security on the border, but we can do this without throwing billions of dollars at empty promises of security and enforcement made in this amendment.