Congressman Beto O'Rourke (TX-16) joined Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and members of the Congressional Border Caucus, Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva, Filemon Vela and Henry Cuellar, to introduce a set of principles intended to ensure that border communities have a voice in negotiations as the U.S. House of Representatives begins to address comprehensive immigration reform.
"We need comprehensive immigration reform that is humane, rational, and fiscally responsible," said Congressman Beto O'Rourke. "The border should be viewed as an opportunity, not a threat. More than $500 billion worth of trade crosses our ports of entry every year and that helps support 6 million jobs nationwide. Rather than militarize our border against a threat that does not exist, we should realize our full economic potential and invest those resources to improve and modernize our ports of entry. If we focus on the positive aspects the border has to offer, we have the very real possibility of crafting legislation that will grow our economy and create jobs."
"Democrats are committed to immigration reform that is comprehensive, that represents a reasonable compromise for both parties, and that affords all immigrants a fair shot at the American Dream," said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. "We remain committed to sensible, bipartisan solutions to secure our border and to ensure growth and opportunity among our border communities -- all as part of commonsense reform that reaffirms our values and honors our tradition as a nation of immigrants."
"Preventing needless human suffering shouldn't be a political issue, and there are several bipartisan humanitarian solutions on the table that deserve more consideration," said Rep. Grijalva. "Any successful immigration reform bill will reduce deaths in our Southwestern desert region, provide meaningful oversight of law enforcement practices, and make sure the border remains as safe a place to raise a family as it is today. There are ways Democrats and Republicans can work together to achieve those goals, and I look forward to making sure it happens."
"The United States, Mexico, and Canada form the world's largest free trade area, with about one-third of the world's total gross domestic product (GDP). Trade between the US and Mexico has more than tripled since 1994," Rep. Vela said. "As co-chair of the Border Caucus, I firmly believe that any comprehensive immigration reform bill must recognize this economic and cultural unity. Instead of mandating the construction of additional barriers, we should invest in boosting our trade relationship, which will create more jobs and improve the American economy."
The 12-member Congressional Border Caucus includes representatives from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California and advocates for the needs and interests of border communities.