Secure Borders First Act of 2007

June 19, 2007

washington d.c. — Immigration Reform Caucus Chairman Brian Bilbray (R-CA) joined Congressman Peter T. King (R-NY), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, to unveil two new border security and immigration initiatives—a comprehensive border security and immigration reform bill as well as a resolution calling for full enforcement of all current immigration laws.  The two new measures represent a strong ‘Security First-No Amnesty’ alternative to the Kennedy-Bush Senate Amnesty bill.
“We decided to take action today rather than wait for the Senate to pass an amnesty bill the American people clearly do not want,” Bilbray said.  “There is no reason why Congress shouldn’t take immediate action to secure our borders, strengthen our immigration laws, implement true interior enforcement and establish a working employer verification system.”
The Secure Borders FIRST (For Integrity, Reform, Safety and anti-Terrorism) Act of 2007 will mandate operational control of all our borders and ensure better enforcement of current U.S. immigration laws. 
“First and foremost, we must gain control of our borders, and the Senate bill fails to do this,” King said.  “Furthermore, against the wishes of the American people, the Senate bill would provide almost immediate amnesty for an estimated 12 million illegal aliens here in the United States.  These are serious issues that would only serve to weaken the security of our country.”
“The immigration status quo is intolerable.  Not because our immigration laws are broken, but because they are not vigorously enforced,” Smith said.  “Immigration enforcement has failed primarily because Administrations for 20 years have not enforced sanctions on employers who hire illegal immigrants.  Our resolution calls on the Administration to enforce employer sanctions systematically, not just sporadically.”
The bill also reforms the H-2A Visa program to allow for a market-based number of temporary agricultural workers each year.  The legislation does not provide amnesty, or the legalization of aliens illegally residing in the United States, and would make English our nation’s official language.
“By reforming the H-2A program we already have in place, we can better enforce our immigration laws while ensuring American farmers have the workforce they need,” King said.
Furthermore, House Republican leaders have introduced a resolution calling for the enforcement of all immigration laws points out a number of current laws that are not fully enforced.  This includes implementing both the entry and exit portions of the U.S. VISIT program, enforcing the employer sanctions that were enacted as part of the “Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986,” and increasing the number of Border Patrol agents, detention beds, and immigration investigators.
Bilbray added, “The practice of rewarding illegal behavior and ignoring current immigration laws must come to an end.  No one believes that you can grant an amnesty first and enforce the law second.  What part of illegal is hard to understand?”
“The Administration claims we have a de facto amnesty now,” said Smith. “That’s true and it’s the result of the Administration’s own lack of determination to enforce the law.  We don’t need amnesty to enforce current law; we need to enforce the law to eliminate the need for amnesty.”  

“If Congress is serious about border security and immigration control, then this is the solution,” King said.

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