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Bob's Weekly Report: A "Security First-No Amnesty" Alternative To The Senate Immigration Bill


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Last week I was pleased to join several other Republican members of the House of Representatives in unveiling a comprehensive border security and immigration reform bill which is a strong alternative to the Senate amnesty bill that was recently introduced by Senator Ted Kennedy.

The Secure Borders FIRST (For Integrity, Reform, Safety and anti-Terrorism) Act will help secure our borders, crack down on illegal immigration, and ensure that we detain and deport dangerous criminal illegal aliens, such as gang members. In addition, it will help to eliminate the jobs magnet that encourages illegal immigration into the country by making the employment verification system mandatory for employers. Perhaps most importantly the Secure Borders FIRST Act does not provide amnesty, or the legalization of aliens illegally residing in the United States.

Our alternative to the Senate amnesty bill takes the necessary steps to secure our border by establishing a firm timeline for the Department of Homeland Security to achieve control of the border and authorizing additional border security personnel. The Secure Borders First Act requires mandatory detention for all illegal immigrants apprehended along the border, ensuring there will be no return to the so-called "Catch and Release" practice of releasing apprehended aliens on the promise that they would return for a hearing at a later date. Few did. It also provides for expedited removal for any illegal aliens apprehended within 100 miles of the border and two weeks of entry.

The Secure Borders FIRST Act also incorporates additional measures to make certain our communities are safe from terrorists, criminal aliens, and gangs and enhances security of critical identification documents by improving the security of birth certificates, mandating the deportation of aliens who are convicted of three DUIs, and allowing for the detention of dangerous aliens who cannot be sent back to their own country. The legislation increases support for state and local law enforcement by authorizing funding for grants and training, and clarifying that state and local authorities can voluntarily apprehend and detain illegal aliens.

Finally, the Secure Borders FIRST Act adds strong worksite enforcement provisions and reforms the current H-2A agricultural temporary worker program to provide economic stability for our farmers. The legislation denies certain tax deductions to employers that hire illegal aliens and eliminates a loophole in current law that allows illegal aliens to receive Social Security benefits from their illegal work, if they are later legalized.

Completely closing our borders to legal immigrants who seek to experience the American dream or who are needed in this country is not the answer. However, we need to aggressively crack down on illegal immigration. The common sense approach to immigration reform that we have offered is the only proposal which will secure our borders, crack down on illegal immigration and not provide amnesty to millions who entered our country in violation of our laws.

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