Illegal immigration is a serious problem in the United States, and the number of illegal immigrants is rapidly increasing each year. The unlawful entry of these individuals into the U.S. not only puts severe strain on state and local budgets, but also limits the ability of federal programs designed to support American citizens. Additionally, I have serious concerns with the potential for employers to hire illegal immigrants to do jobs that American citizens could be doing. I am working to stem the flow of illegal immigration, and I will not support an amnesty policy to address this issue.
Our nation's border security is a key issue when addressing both our economic and national security interests. I feel strongly that a comprehensive border security plan is paramount to rebuilding our nation's economy as well as protecting our nation's security. The lack of secure borders doesn't simply allow illegal immigration to flourish; the federal government's failure allows drugs, guns, terrorists or any number of dangerous entities to enter our nation undetected.
Traditional methods of protecting our borders must evolve, using new technologies and more aggressive border patrol practices. We must ensure that our efforts include both the northern and southern border, as well as our points of entry.
Undocumented workers who commit crimes in the United States need to be punished and returned to their home nations. The 287(g) program allowing local law enforcement to determine what criminals are here illegally is a step in the right direction. Clark County law enforcement's enrollment in the 287(g) program with the federal government is encouraging and we need to expand such coordinated efforts throughout the country to help take the financial and structural burden off local governments.
I am a cosponsor of H.R. 2885, legislation to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a mandatory and permanent employment eligibility verification system (EEVS), patterned after the E-Verify system. Additionally, this bill requires an employer to attest, during the verification period and under penalty of perjury, that the employer has verified that an individual is not an unauthorized alien. Please be assured that, as a cosponsor, I will support H.R. 2885 should it be addressed by the full House of Representatives.
I also voted for H.R. 2055, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012, which was signed into law and set the remaining appropriation levels for the fiscal year (FY) 2012. This bill increases the number of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents and CBP officers to the highest totals in the history of the agency. Additionally, the bill includes language requiring the Secretary of Homeland Security to enforce our current immigration laws, requiring that a daily minimum of 34,000 detention beds be made available, the largest capacity ever.