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Public Statements

Column - Any Immigration Reform Efforts Must Start with Border Security

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

Recently, I have been hearing from constituents who are very concerned about our broken immigration system. While I applaud the efforts of some Senate Republicans to fix what is wrong with the way we keep people out and let people into this country, I have serious concerns that the bill being debated in the Senate does not go far enough in addressing border security.

I believe we must secure the border before we consider next steps for those who are already here illegally. That has to be the first step to fixing the problem. Otherwise, much like the 1986 immigration bill, we will give millions of illegal immigrants' citizenship only to see millions more cross our borders. That would put us right back where we are today.

It is unacceptable to continue kicking the can down the road because sealing our border might be a tough political position for some people to take. When I was elected to represent the 16th District it was precisely to make these types of tough decisions.

Although an immigration bill has not yet been introduced to the full House of Representatives, the Judiciary Committee is discussing possible reforms. Just about everyone agrees changes need to be made. The system we have now is clearly failing and in major ways.

However, I do not believe we should grant amnesty, nor issue benefits, to those choosing to enter our country illegally. Simply put, any bill that does not seal our border or that grants blanket amnesty or provides programs like Medicare and Medicaid to those who are here illegally will not get my vote.

The House also recently approved the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, or NDAA. The NDAA is the key mechanism by which Congress fulfills its primary constitutional responsibility to "provide for the common defense." One of my most important responsibilities as a U.S. Representative is to ensure everyone in our military receives the support they need and deserve as they execute their missions and come home safely.

Important to earning my support, this year's bill contains language explicitly preventing the military from detaining American citizens without providing them their Constitutional right to habeas corpus. Put more simply -- just as in previous years -- this legislation ensures the military cannot under any circumstances detain American citizens indefinitely.

Our troops are still engaged in Afghanistan, even as we begin to wind down our military involvement there. We also have members of our military stationed across the globe, from Germany to the Persian Gulf. The NDAA lays out a plan to equip our war fighters and make sure they are compensated for the selfless act of protecting America and the freedoms we all are blessed to enjoy. I was proud to support this crucial legislation, much as I am proud to stand with the men and women of our Armed Forces.

Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by following me on Facebook (facebook.com/repjimrenacci) and Twitter (twitter.com/repjimrenacci). If you have questions or comments regarding my work in Congress, please do not hesitate to contact my Wadsworth office at (330) 334-0040 or my Washington office at (202) 225-3876.


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