Robert Hurt: The House acts to address the crisis at the border
Our immigration system is undeniably broken and in need of serious reform. This administration’s failure and refusal to secure our borders has largely created the humanitarian crisis we are seeing on our southern border. President Obama’s blatant disregard for our laws has encouraged tens of thousands of people, many of them children, to risk their lives making the dangerous journey to cross the border illegally, jeopardizing our national security, and undermining our laws. It is imperative that we, first and foremost, secure our borders, and subsequently, return to an immigration policy that is rooted in the rule of law.
Virginia’s Fifth District saw firsthand the effects of this crisis in June when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) planned to convert the recently-closed campus of Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville into a detention center for 500 illegal immigrants in a week’s time without consulting anyone in the community. After a public meeting attended by over a thousand concerned citizens, it was clear that the community found the public health and safety risks far too great and were frustrated with the manner in which the federal government attempted to force this plan upon the community. Thankfully, HHS followed the will of the people and withdrew the plan, but this episode demonstrated that the consequences of this administration’s policies reach far beyond the border states and that this crisis is overwhelming our resources.
Last week, the House took critical steps toward addressing the current immigration crisis at our southern border by passing key legislation that addresses the root causes of the crisis and stops the flow of illegal border crossings. These bills will send targeted resources to bolster our border security personnel, allow border states to deploy the National Guard, provide these Central American children a safe and expeditious return to their home countries, and implement meaningful reforms that will discourage, rather than encourage, illegal migration.
Unfortunately, our counterparts in the Senate and the White House have been critical of our efforts despite taking no action of their own to meet these challenges. There are even reports that the president is considering expanding the very policies that generated the surge in illegal border crossings in the first place. I hope that the President and the Senate will ultimately join us and support these bills so that we will strengthen the security at our border and renew the effort to achieve an immigration policy that is rooted in the rule of law.
If you need any additional information, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.