If GOP Really Wanted to Fix Immigration System, They’d Stop the Danged Amendments
Washington, DC – Republican Senators are busy offering a number of border-related amendments today to the emergency supplemental appropriations bill for new jobs, disaster relief and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, continuing their recent steadfast advocacy of the immigration status quo. Instead of proposing steps toward a lasting fix of the immigration system, the Republican “border security first” mantra and its related amendments amount to an endorsement of the failed immigration policies of the past two decades.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “The Republican border-first “solution” amounts to buying a bigger hedge-trimmer when Congress should be digging up the roots of our nation’s dysfunctional immigration system. Border enforcement is a necessary but insufficient part of getting immigration reform right. It does nothing to stop the jobs magnet that is luring unauthorized immigrants here in the first place. It does nothing to bring 11 million unauthorized immigrants into the system legally. And it does nothing to reform our legal immigration system so that it can respond flexibly to future labor market needs.”
As Senator John McCain himself said in 2007, “our nation’s immigration system is broken and is badly in need of repair, but without comprehensive immigration reform, it is a fact that our nation’s security will remain vulnerable,” and, “The most effective border protection tool we have is establishing a legal channel for workers to enter the United States after they have passed background checks and have secured employment.”
Moreover, despite the spin that nothing has been done to strengthen border security, consider these simple facts:
- As the Immigration Policy Center notes, the annual budget of the U.S. Border Patrol stood at $3.0 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 – a nine-fold increase since FY 1992;
- The number of Border Patrol agents stationed along the southwest border with Mexico grew to 16,974 in FY 2009 – a nearly five-fold increase since FY 1992;
- As this chart shows, spending by interior U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) skyrocketed from almost $7.5 billion in 2002 to over $17 billion in 2010.
Now consider the simple fact that despite these massive expenditures illegal immigration has not been stopped. Why? Because simply shoving more money into a failed system is not a real solution. The real solution, as articulated by Senator John McCain himself, is comprehensive immigration reform.
Comprehensive immigration reform is not only a more effective measure of securing the border and fixing our broken immigration system, it’s also overwhelmingly popular among Americans of all political persuasions according to new polling. In fact, support for comprehensive reform jumps from strong 57%-18% support to an overwhelming 78%-16% margin after respondents hear a description of the comprehensive reform proposal.
According to Sharry, “with no mavericks and no bipartisanship in sight, Senate Republicans seem to be letting J.D. Hayworth dictate their policy positions. It’s too bad no adults or leaders are stepping up to actually solve the problem.”
America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.