Co-Chair of FL Delegation Rep. Vern Buchanan: Border Security First! Senate Bill Amnesty!

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-16), co-Chair of the Florida Delegation and member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, sent the following in an email to his constituents:

Earlier this week, the Senate passed a flawed immigration overhaul that rewards illegal immigrants with amnesty, fails to effectively secure the border and puts American workers at a competitive disadvantage.

I do not support this approach.

I have consistently argued for a solution that strengthens our security and upholds the rule of law without granting amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants.  Unfortunately, the 1,200-page Senate bill repeats the mistakes of the past by failing to adequately secure the border while rewarding those who enter our country illegally.

Making matters worse, the Senate legislation is riddled with so many special interest sweeteners that even liberal Sen. Patrick Leahy said it “reads like a Christmas wish list.”  Perks for Hollywood, Alaskan seafood processors and Nevada casinos expose Washington’s disgraceful addiction to pork-barrel spending.

Among other things, the Senate-passed bill would:

    • Grant amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants within six months of the bill’s enactment without first ensuring our borders are secure;
    • Give the Department of Homeland Security sweeping authority to waive border security measures such as new technologies deployed along the Mexican border;
    • Allow the Homeland Security secretary to grant legal status to those with criminal convictions;
    • Double the number of guest workers admitted annually, decreasing wages and job prospects for U.S. workers.

My constituents have told me loud and clear that they want Congress to enact strict border security measures before addressing other immigration reforms.  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that only 44 percent of the Mexican Border is under operational control and that less than one percent of the nearly 4,000 northern border miles had reached an acceptable level of security.

I am hopeful that the House Judiciary Committee will produce a version in the coming months that puts the emphasis on border security and does not punish those who choose to play by the rules and comply with our laws.

As always, please let me know what you think!