WEEKLY WASHINGTON UPDATE
WASHINGTON - Recently, I held a series of community events across the Fifth Congressional District to talk about the need to strengthen America's border security and stop the growing tide of illegal immigration.
After 9/11, border security is homeland security. We cannot afford another deadly attack on America. We can also not afford to pay billions of dollars each year in social services for people who are not citizens of our country. The Center for Immigration Studies reports that illegal aliens imposed more than $26 billion in costs on the federal government in 2002, but paid only $16 billion in taxes - that's a net deficit of over $10 billion.
H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act, which I strongly supported, passed the House of Representatives in December. When signed into law, as I hope it will be, it will work to strengthen our border security and crack down on illegal immigration.
The Border Protection Act would increase the number of border patrol, immigration officers, and K-9 units, to help better secure our borders and ports of entry. It would enforce stricter screening procedures at border checkpoints. The bill establishes physical barriers to stop illegal entry and incorporates state-of-the-art surveillance technology, including cameras, sensors, radar, satellite, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
This bill would help eliminate the so-called practice of "catch and release" by requiring mandatory detention and deportation, and reimbursing border sheriffs for detaining illegal aliens s until they can be transferred to federal custody. It imposes real consequences for illegal employment, alien smuggling and gang activity. And to make our communities safer, it would bar violent felons from receiving green cards, and makes multiple DUI offenses a deportable offense for all illegal aliens.
I have sympathy for those who do not live in lands of opportunity and simply want to feed their families. Although America is a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. We cannot grant amnesty to those who break our laws. American citizenship is a great honor and we must ensure that it remains so.