Udall Statement On Immigration Reform
(Washington, DC)U.S. Rep. Mark Udall (D-Eldorado Springs) released the following statement regarding immigration legislation currently being debated in Congress:
"Despite some serious flaws, I voted for H.R. 4437, the border security bill, because it makes long-overdue and necessary improvements in securing our borders. Enforcing the law of the land should be everyone's goal. My decision was also influenced by the 9/11 Commission, which recommended increased immigration enforcement personnel, stronger surveillance, tougher entry-and-exit procedures and the use of better technologies to enhance our border security.
"By focusing exclusively on the question of border security and immigration enforcement, however, the House ignored the most difficult and challenging aspect of immigration reform, namely the question of how to deal humanely and effectively with the estimated 8-11 million illegal immigrants currently living and working in this country.
"I do not favor making every man, woman and child who overstays a visa or resides in this country illegally a felon. Driving illegal immigrants deeper underground, even more than current law, which keeps them in the shadows, is a terrible tactic if our overarching goal is national security. In this regard, H.R. 4437 needs to be refined and revised by the Senate, and I am hopeful this will happen.
"I am convinced that reassuring the American people that we have taken strong action to strengthen enforcement and secure our borders is a necessary predicate for the harder and more complicated task of addressing the problem of existing illegal and undocumented workers. With stronger border security and enforcement established we can work to build a consensus for the harder task of clarifying the status of existing illegal immigrants, most of whom are hard-working and otherwise law-abiding people, in a thoughtful way that will protect children, include guest-worker needs and establish a more transparent process for legalized entry.
"There is perhaps no more divisive issue in our country than immigration, and sadly the tone and content of much of the debate in the Congress has only fueled the division. We must conduct this debate in a civilized manner and use this as an opportunity to unite the country and pass a sorely-needed comprehensive immigration reform bill."