With much of Washington buzzing that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and other Republicans are working to gain President Donald Trump’s support for a Democrat-supported mass amnesty bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last year with overwhelming opposition, Congressman Chip Roy is urging Graham and others to reject the proposal.
— Rep. Chip Roy (@RepChipRoy) February 18, 2020
Dear Chairman Graham,
I write to urge that any immigration reform measures undertaken in the Senate, for Agriculture workers or otherwise, focus expressly and solely on actual and desperately needed immigration reform. There should be no amnesty considered as we should be squarely focused on re-establishing actual operational control of our border, which we currently do not have.
As a former Senate Judiciary Committee lawyer, I understand the complexities of immigration and border-related legislation – and have worked on it. It is for this reason I was troubled by recent reports that some in the Senate might well be considering taking up the recently passed Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038) which passed with only, and regrettably, 34 Republican votes. This bill is sold as immigration reform when in truth it would repeat the mistakes of 1986 by granting a massive and easily abused amnesty, while weakening the already flawed H-2A system going forward. The legislation mandates a new wage system without providing specific guidelines and would weaken the agricultural industry, which is why the American Farm Bureau and many other groups are opposed to H.R. 5038.
You know this issue – and the politics – better than most. It would be a fool’s errand to pass such legislation which would directly conflict with the core campaign promises of President Trump to regain control of our border and immigration system. While the President and many in the Department of Homeland Security are working hard to secure the border despite my Democrat colleagues’ recalcitrance, the fact is the border remains badly broken and far from secure.
Dangerous cartels are at war in Tamaulipas along the Mexico-Texas border, maintaining operational control along much of the border. We have not taken the steps necessary to treat cartels like the terrorist actors they are. Only a little over 100 miles of actual fencing has been completed, largely on areas that already had at least barriers. Narcotics flow is as bad as it has ever been, with fentanyl now littering our cities across the country. We are relying on Mexico to hold the line for us – which is tenuous at best. We have not fixed Flores or ended catch-and-release policies, we have not fixed our asylum laws from the potential of abuse, and we have not fixed TVPRA to allow for the safe and easy return of children and immigrants to their homes. Border Patrol and ICE need more resources and beds. We have vast areas of the border which are overrun by cane and have no roads allowing navigation along the Rio Grande. I could go on, but to be clear, we’ve taken maybe 5 steps of 100 needed to actually secure the border.
I am happy to discuss at any time, but I trust that you agree with me that pursuing amnesty rather than border security and true immigration reform at this time is the wrong direction when the President has taken at least the first few steps needed to solve this problem. “Comprehensive immigration reform” has proven to be too complex and the primary obstacle to progress for almost two decades.
Member of Congress
For those seeking more information on the issue, Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz has an excellent explanation of the legislation and the major impact it would have.