February 15, 2013
The Honorable John Boehner
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Speaker Boehner,
As the House begins to debate possible immigration reform proposals, it is vitally important to those of us who represent Border States that the first priority of any reform is securing our Southwest border. The United States-Mexico border, especially along the southern border of Arizona, has been host to frequent and extreme violence. In fact, the Tucson Sector in southern Arizona records the largest number of illegal border crossers when compared to the rest of the country.
Drug cartel violence and the continuous stream of unchecked, illegal immigrants along the southern U.S. border have many Americans, and even more Arizonans, justifiably concerned. In the past few years, violence on the border of Mexico has escalated. Mexican drug trafficking organizations dominate the border and have increasingly branched out into other criminal activities including human trafficking, kidnapping, armed robbery, and extortion.
The constant threat of violence along our borders remains a significant problem and needs to be addressed first and foremost. Despite Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's February 13, 2013 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the flood of illegal immigration "no longer exists," there is no question that our porous Southern border is a security threat that leaves our country vulnerable. In the Tucson Sector alone, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 120,000 illegal border crossers in 2012, of which over fifteen percent came from countries other than Mexico--many from countries unfriendly to the U.S. It is important to note that these are only the individuals who are actually apprehended and does not give an accurate accounting of all those who have eluded detection as they illegally crossed our borders. Only after first securing our borders can we begin to contemplate discussions of additional immigration reform.
Furthermore, any determination that the Southern border has reached a level of operational control must be grounded in data and independent third party evaluations rather than by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. with political motives. If we do not follow this protocol, we will replay the failed immigration reform policies of 1986 when we lost the trust of those in our communities to take on the difficult task of securing our borders. We cannot allow this to happen again.
We look forward to working with you and our House colleagues to secure our border and address this important issue. If we may be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.
Matt Salmon Trent Franks
Member of Congress Member of Congres
Paul Gosar David Schweikert
Member of Congress Member of Congress