Opinion: I support helping the DACA population. But we can’t incentivize more illegal immigration and find ourselves in the same situation in the future.
The debate over border security and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama policy that prevents undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from being deported, has dominated the news cycle in recent months. The media coverage of the House’s immigration legislation has been convoluted and confusing. Let me explain what we’ve been trying to do.
I’m one of nine members of Congress who represent a border district. I’m the Border Security subcommittee chair — a first for Arizona — and my constituents are confronted daily with the dangers of a porous border, where cartels are trafficking drugs, people and whatever else fills their bank accounts. To combat these violent criminals, I have made it my mission to fight for more resources, infrastructure and a better border security strategy.
Last September, President Trump appropriately pushed Congress to deal with DACA, and I started working with a group of Republican House members to devise a solution that would fix our broken immigration system and secure our border. We introduced the Securing America’s Future Act in January 2018.
Bill combines border security, ‘dreamers’
The bill, the first in the House supported by the president, provides $38 billion for border security enforcement including the border wall, technology at the ports of entry, access roads and additional boots on the ground. The bill would also close loopholes being exploited by cartels, stop family separation while enforcing the law, end the visa lottery system and chain migration, and provide a legal status for DACA recipients.
It is extremely difficult to get agreement on these complex and often politically charged topics. We felt this bill provided the best solution to protect our borders, close loopholes and fix DACA.
I have also consistently shown – with my votes, words and actions – that I am willing to support a legislative solution for the DACA population. But any solution must be combined with fixing the root causes of why we have a DACA population in the first place. We can’t incentivize more illegal immigration and find ourselves in the same situation in the future.
More of the same is unacceptable
Over the last few years, hundreds of thousands of people have disappeared into the shadows illegally after falsely claiming asylum and taking advantage of other loopholes that exist in our legal immigration system. This “catch and release” vulnerability in our laws is insane and Congress must act urgently to fix it. If we do nothing, we will just have more of the same — and that is unacceptable.
Securing America’s Future Act fell just 21 votes short of passing the House on June 21, and a similar bill also supported by President Trump, where the generosity provided for DACA recipients was expanded, failed too by a much larger margin.
I voted yes on both bills, and was the only member among the nine in Arizona’s congressional delegation to do so. Kyrsten Sinema – who has said she is willing to work across the aisle to get this done – did not vote for either bill.
Though I prefer a solution closer to my bill, we must do something to keep our communities safe and stop the insanity of what is happening at the border. I’ve been working since I first arrived in Washington, D.C., to solve this issue — and I’m going to keep fighting till we get the job done.