Arizona's Republican Congressmen Take the Jan Brewer Route on Immigration Proposals
The anti-immigration-reform crowd's broken record is currently playing in the offices of Republican Congressmen Matt Salmon, Trent Franks, Paul Gosar, and David Schweikert.
The congressmen, like Governor Jan Brewer, insist that they can only even fathom immigration reform proposals if the border is secure. Still, no one's able to provide a definition of "secure border."
See, President Obama, as well as a handful of Republican senators -- including both of Arizona's -- have expressed support for immigration reform, as a way to get undocumented people in the United States a pathway to citizenship.
Heck, it sounded at first like there was some impending movement on the immigration front. Now, it appears that it's not going so well.
McCain, for example, hosted two town hall meetings yesterday, and by all accounts we've seen, they didn't go so well.
"One man yelled that only guns would discourage illegal immigration," reports Politico. "Another man complained that illegal immigrants should never be able to become citizens or vote. A third man said illegal immigrants were illiterate invaders who wanted free government benefits."
Amid this, Arizona's four Republican congressmen released a letter to the media, that's supposedly addressed to House Speaker John Boehner.
"Only after first securing our borders can we begin to contemplate discussions of additional immigration reform," the letter says, echoing Brewer's sentiment.
But, like Brewer, the congressmen fail to define what a secure border is -- which is important, as folks like Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano swear up and down that the border is secure.
The Arizona Republic, on a trip to the border with Brewer last week, reported, "Brewer said the best way to understand what a secure border would look like would be to talk to the people living along it."
Living next to something doesn't make you an expert on it, but the letter from Salmon and company doesn't get much better.
"Furthermore, any determination that the Southern border has reached a level of operational control must be grounded in data and independent third party evaluations rather than by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. with political motives," the letter says.
This, according to four men who could be considered Washington bureaucrats, from the same political party, who wrote a letter stating that "there is no question that our porous Southern border is a security threat that leaves our country vulnerable."
Above all, they don't explain what feels acceptable to qualify as a "secure border."
In other words, we could've skipped this entire post, and just written, "Business as usual in Washington."
Read the entire text of the letter from the congressmen on the next page:
The Honorable John Boehner
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Speaker Boehner,
As the House begins to debate possible immigration reform proposals, it is vitally important to those of us who represent Border States that the first priority of any reform is securing our Southwest border. The United States-Mexico border, especially along the southern border of Arizona, has been host to frequent and extreme violence. In fact, the Tucson Sector in southern Arizona records the largest number of illegal border crossers when compared to the rest of the country.
Drug cartel violence and the continuous stream of unchecked, illegal immigrants along the southern U.S. border have many Americans, and even more Arizonans, justifiably concerned. In the past few years, violence on the border of Mexico has escalated. Mexican drug trafficking organizations dominate the border and have increasingly branched out into other criminal activities including human trafficking, kidnapping, armed robbery, and extortion.
The constant threat of violence along our borders remains a significant problem and needs to be addressed first and foremost. Despite Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's February 13, 2013 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the flood of illegal immigration "no longer exists," there is no question that our porous Southern border is a security threat that leaves our country vulnerable. In the Tucson Sector alone, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 120,000 illegal border crossers in 2012, of which over fifteen percent came from countries other than Mexico--many from countries unfriendly to the U.S. It is important to note that these are only the individuals who are actually apprehended and does not give an accurate accounting of all those who have eluded detection as they illegally crossed our borders. Only after first securing our borders can we begin to contemplate discussions of additional immigration reform.
Furthermore, any determination that the Southern border has reached a level of operational control must be grounded in data and independent third party evaluations rather than by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. with political motives. If we do not follow this protocol, we will replay the failed immigration reform policies of 1986 when we lost the trust of those in our communities to take on the difficult task of securing our borders. We cannot allow this to happen again.
We look forward to working with you and our House colleagues to secure our border and address this important issue. If we may be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.