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Monday, Nov 24, 2014
Commentary

Ross: Strengthening our borders should be the top priority

Published:

Immigration is an issue that impacts everyone in America. Everything from taxes, job creation, health care costs, the cost of education and national security are affected by immigration.

This year, over 57,000 unaccompanied minors have illegally crossed our borders. Shockingly, that number is expected to swell to over 90,000 by the end of 2014.

Our borders have always been too porous, providing an easy way for migrants to enter the country illegally.

Unfortunately, the problem has grown immensely over the past two years.

In 2012, President Barack Obama issued an executive order known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA allows children who illegally enter the U.S. before 2007 to remain here. This executive order has fueled the stampede of illegal immigrants who view the administration’s actions as a free pass to amnesty.

Coordinated efforts by the presidents of Mexico and Guatemala have exacerbated this crisis.

Dubbed “The Southern Border Program to Improve Passage,” the program is designed to aid citizens of Guatemala and Belize in their travel through Mexico and into our country. Such state-sponsored tactics cripple our government by stretching our military and resources thin, bleeding billions out of our economy, and allowing criminals and drug dealers to poison our children and streets.

To address the crisis along the Southwestern border, Obama has asked Congress to approve his request for $3.7 billion. Before I vote to give the president a blank check, this administration needs to protect the borders and enforce the laws that already exist.

There is a proper way to stop the overflow of people who are being guided to find amnesty. Currently, three pieces of legislation that I co-sponsored will end this growing crisis.

Foremost, we must secure our borders. Without securing the border, illegal immigrants will continue to easily enter our country and bypass the processes and laws that were created to protect American citizens.

H.R. 4962, the National Border and Homeland Security Act, will add 6,000 full-time Border Patrol agents to the states that line Mexico. It will also fund the completion of 700 miles of fencing along our southwest border by December 31, 2015.

H.R. 4882, the Southwest Border Protection Act of 2014, would allow members of the National Guard to be deployed to the border in order to support the United States Customs and Border Protection. The movement of troops along our country’s border would be effective and cost efficient, saving millions that would otherwise be spent on training and new Border Patrol hires.

Finally, the U.S. must stop sending foreign aid to nations that encourage illegal immigration. H.R. 5014, the Illegal Entry Accountability Act of 2014, would send a strong message to these governments that the U.S. will not stand by idly while foreign leaders deliberately try to infiltrate our borders.

This legislation would not affect aid intended for narcotic enforcement programs.

The illegal immigration issue has gone on far too long. My colleagues and I have collaborated and found solutions that will end the problem knocking at our country’s border.

Securing our borders is the first step to ending this crisis and reforming our broken immigration system.

U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross is a Republican from Lakeland. He represents the 15th District, which includes parts of Hillsborough and Polk counties.

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