With legal immigration must come border security
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Although the pathway-to-citizenship bill is a step in the right direction, it is important to realize that enhanced border security is a must if we are going to have legalization. I applaud Republican Sens. John Hoeven of North Dakota and Bob Corker of Tennessee for brokering an amendment that would force the government to spend $30 billion to double the size of the Border Patrol to nearly 40,000 agents. Also, an additional $8 billion would be spent on drones, helicopters, planes and enhanced surveillance technology that would allow Border Patrol agents to monitor the 2,000-mile border with Mexico better. The American people have the right to expect that, and they deserve comprehensive and extensive security at our borders.
In 1986, President Reagan signed a law that allowed an estimated 3 million immigrants to become citizens with the promise that borders would be secure. Unfortunately, the American people never got border security, and millions more undocumented immigrants crossed our border. That doesn’t take into account the millions more who have entered the U.S. legally but overstayed their visas.
Government oversight must be strengthened. Visa programs should be expanded, but all loopholes must be closed. We cannot let people stay past deadlines.
Border security must be our top priority. You can’t deport 13 million people, most of whom are good people, but mass illegal immigration must stop and be controlled. It is truly the only way the American people are going to feel comfortable with this bill.
An unrelated item that I wanted you all to be aware of was the situation at Long Beach Medical Center in Long Beach. The hospital remains in limbo all these months after Hurricane Sandy halted its operations. The already financially strapped facility suffered heavy flood damage and has been closed ever since. It needs at least $56 million in repairs in order to begin operating again.