There are no two ways about it: illegal immigration is illegal. The images of a caravan of illegal immigrants trying to push across our southern border are deeply troubling.
We have laws in the United States for a reason. Everyone is bound by the rule of law, and we must all abide by the law to live in a civil society. There are ways to enter our country through clear, legal processes that have been in place for decades, used by those that show respect for our country.
To this end, there are hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world who gain citizenship every year. According the Pew Research Center, around 19.8 million naturalized citizens currently live in the United States. We are a nation of immigrants and are proud of that fact.
But, there are correct, legal ways to become a citizen in our country.
Amassing thousands and marching on our southern border, or even just one person crossing the border illegally, is not the right way to gain citizenship.
No one is more frustrated by illegal immigration than those who followed the law and proper process to enter our country the right way. I’ve heard from these legal immigrants at various public meetings over the years, and they are some of the most passionate about strong border security. Many see it as a matter of fairness.
I visited Honduras and Guatemala at the beginning of October to learn more about what is driving much of the illegal immigration. It is true that there is much corruption, crime and hardship in Central America. But, it cannot be stressed enough: illegal immigration is illegal.
Also according to the Pew Research Center, roughly 11.3 million illegal immigrants currently live in the United States, roughly 3.5 percent of our total population. It remains clear that our immigration system is broken and has been for some time. After years of ineffective policy and Democrat obstruction, it is time we come to a solution that works for the American people.
Any immigration reform effort must start with border security. That is why I introduced the 50 Votes for the Wall Act, which creates a pathway to build President Trump’s border wall and help secure our southern border.
The bill creates a new mandatory spending program, providing up to $25 billion, to fully fund President Trump’s border wall. The bill directs this money be used by the secretary of Homeland Security to construct physical barriers and associated detection technology, roads, and lighting along the southern border.
We have passed bills funding the wall out of the House previously, only to see those bills stall out in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to pass wall funding. That’s why my bill would use the reconciliation process to build the wall. Under the reconciliation process, only 50 votes are necessary for passage of bills. This would allow us to overcome Democrat obstruction and provide the critical money to the Trump Administration that they need to protect our borders.
Not only would my bill fully fund the wall, but it would take the wall building program out of the appropriations process and prevent Democrats from bottling up funding in future years.
It is critically important that we pass my bill, the 50 Votes for the Wall Act, by the end of the year in order to help protect the American people and finally secure our southern border.
Border security is national security. We must secure our borders if we are to secure our future as a country.
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope.