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Morgan Griffith: The wrong approach to immigration reform

morgan griffithOne of America’s defining virtues is that its promise is open to people of all races and creeds. Our foundational principles apply to men and women no matter their land of origin.

Yet this openness to all also places obligations on those who want to become Americans. Because we aspire to treat everyone equally according to the law, we expect newcomers to respect the rule of law. Because our principles shape the American identity, we ask that would-be Americans share them and support them.

The Democrat majority in the House of Representatives recently passed an immigration bill, H.R. 6, that strays too far from these principles. The bill grants green cards and a path to citizenship to millions of so-called Dreamers – young people brought to this country illegally by their parents.

I think we can treat this population fairly, recognizing that their illegal entry was not their choice. I have supported proposals that would grant them legal status in the past as part of broader changes to the immigration system, including what was known as “Goodlatte 2,” and I am willing to do so again.

But this bill takes too radical of an approach. It opens a potential path to citizenship to those who have committed multiple misdemeanors, including DUIs with injuries, and even a potential pathway for known gang members. It is beyond me why Democrats would want to keep people in this country who are dangerous to public safety.

Democrats also passed H.R. 6 while still refusing to work with President Trump on addressing the humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border. That means building the wall, more administrative law judges to adjudicate asylum claims, and numerous other items. Historic numbers of illegal immigrants are entering the United States, straining immigration enforcement.

Legalizing large numbers of illegal immigrants without securing the border will only worsen the situation, incentivizing more illegal immigration and further undermining our laws.

When H.R. 6 passed on the House floor, spectators in the gallery erupted in shouting. I was taken aback, as their chants were not “USA!” but the Spanish “Si se puede,” followed by its English translation, “Yes we can.”

If it was about becoming American, chanting “USA! USA!” would have shown that they were serious about sharing in the American dream. Chanting “Yes we can” indicates a total disregard for sharing that dream. Instead, they just expressed the desire to do what they want without regard for the American republic and its promise.

Their choice was troubling. The promise of America is open to all, but we expect that those who seek it will abide by our shared national customs and traditions. Why would someone come to America only to reject our beliefs?

Real immigration reform is still needed. House Democrats have only provided a bill that will make us less safe and reject the principles of immigration and assimilation that have served our country well.

D-Day Part III

On June 6, 2019, I joined fellow lawmakers, President Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, other leaders, and veterans in Normandy, France, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

It was a great honor to be on that hallowed ground for the occasion. President Trump and President Macron each spoke, paying tribute to the courage of the Allied forces who landed on June 6, 1944, to free a continent and rid the world of Nazi tyranny.

Afterward, I searched among the crosses of the Normandy American Cemetery for the gravesites of western Virginians killed in the battle. I visited about fourteen in total and took pictures. Although they now lie far from home, they are not forgotten in the places they came from, nor in the country where they died.

One of them was First Lieutenant Benjamin Kearfott of Martinsville. I was able to take a picture of his grave and send it to Martinsville, where a ceremony honoring him and other heroes of D-Day took place later that day.

Later that evening, we went to Juno Beach as part of an international ceremony. On Sunday, we attended a reenactment of the jumps made by the paratroopers over Sainte-Mère-Église.

I will never forget being among the company of heroes at the 75th anniversary. And as long as our country stands, we can never forget the sacrifice and the bravery of the heroes of D-Day.

Further, while on the trip on Friday, we met with members of the French National Assembly. On Saturday, we paid tribute to the fallen of World War I at Suresnes American Cemetery.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office.  You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at

augusta free press
augusta free press