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Instead of beating around the bush, let's just call this bill what it is: amnesty

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Rejecting Amnesty, Supporting the Rule of Law

Instead of beating around the bush, let’s just call this bill what it is: amnesty

I am a strong proponent of securing our borders and enforcing our interior immigration laws.  In addition, I believe it is irresponsible for Congress to even consider a guest worker program until our borders are secure and our current immigration laws are enforced.  Unfortunately, the United States Senate is currently debating just that: legislation which will grant amnesty to many of the 12 to 20 million illegal aliens who are currently residing in the U.S. and will create a far reaching guest worker program.  Proponents of this legislation, led by Senator Ted Kennedy, like to call it “comprehensive immigration reform,” but I will call it what it is: amnesty.

The actions of the Senate show that the federal government does not have the will to enforce our current immigration laws.  Cities and states across the nation, under pressure from crimes being committed by illegal aliens in their communities, are being forced to do the federal government’s job by implementing policies that give local law enforcement the tools they need to enforce immigration laws.  Last month, the Tulsa City Council voted 6-3 to check the immigration status of all individuals who are arrested on felony or misdemeanor charges and reporting those with illegal status to the Department of Homeland Security.  I applaud the City Council for taking this step in the right direction to end Tulsa’s long standing “hands off” immigration policy.   By allowing Tulsa Police officers to report immigration violations to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office for both felony and misdemeanor offenses, we can help bolster Tulsa’s case for a permanent ICE presence.  I encourage Mayor Taylor to accept this policy change.  As I continue to fight for more federal immigration resources, it is imperative that local and state law enforcement become willing partners with the federal government to protect our nation’s interior from criminal illegal aliens.

I am disappointed that the Senate has chosen to go down the amnesty road, as the policy of granting amnesty is a proven failure in our country.  The Immigration Reform Control Act of 1986, which granted amnesty to three million illegal aliens, did nothing to stem the tide of illegal aliens crossing our borders, but rather contributed to the explosion of illegal immigration our nation faces today.  Granting amnesty to illegal aliens would be an utter failure, just like it was in 1986.  We are rewarding law breakers with a path to U.S. citizenship, our nation’s highest honor. This is not in the economic or national security interests of the United States.  According to the Heritage Foundation, amnesty legislation would result in the largest expansion of the welfare state in 35 years, costing taxpayers untold billions in social services and federal entitlement programs.  Why would Congress ever consider implementing such a failure again?

The House of Representatives took positive steps last year to strengthen our borders and enforce our interior immigration laws.  I was supportive of H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, in the 109th Congress.  This legislation established more physical barriers along the borders, hired more border patrol agents, created the tools necessary for employers to ensure they are hiring a legal workforce and gave the local and state law enforcement the tools necessary to enforce immigration laws.  This is the type of immigration legislation that Congress needs to concentrate on to secure our borders and end illegal immigration.

To be clear, I am not opposed to legal immigration.  I welcome those who wish to come to our country to pursue the American dream through legal measures.  America is a nation built by immigrants, who are vital to our culture and society.  However, America is a nation of laws and those who have broken the law and are here illegally should not be rewarded with a continued stay in the U.S. and a path toward citizenship.  It is imperative that we maintain the integrity of our immigration system and the sovereignty of our great nation by enforcing and strengthening existing immigration laws and rejecting amnesty legislation.

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Congressman John Sullivan represents the state of Oklahoma.

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