By Deborah Barfield Berry
The Obama administration isn't doing enough to improve border security or enforce existing immigration laws, Republican Sen. David Vitter said Thursday.
"Enforce the law, enforce the law, enforce the law," said Vitter, chairman of the Senate Border Security and Enforcement First Immigration Caucus. "The administration has the tools to do it -- it's a matter of will."
Vitter and fellow Republican Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Charles Grassley of Iowa called a press conference to deride the administration's immigration policies as ineffective and to say its "rollercoaster" policies put border security agents at risk.
"They have handcuffed and muffled those charged with protecting public safety and the integrity of our borders," Sessions said. "The lawlessness must end."
Vitter said the caucus, which is made up of 10 Republican senators, has pushed several measures, including one he and Sessions proposed to prevent illegal immigrants from claiming tax credits. Democratic leaders blocked the measure.
Immigration reform has become a bitter partisan issue. Lawmakers and immigration advocates say they don't expect Congress to deal with the issue before the November elections, but they say the issue will be raised during the campaign.
"I think a lot of Americans care about this -- that makes it a campaign issue," Vitter said.