By Congressman Bradley Byrne
One of President Donald Trump’s most popular positions on the campaign trail last year was a commitment to securing our nation’s borders. Since taking office, this has been a shared top priority between President Trump and the House of Representatives.
President Trump first demonstrated his commitment to restoring the rule of law and tackling illegal immigration when he appointed Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General. Jeff Sessions was the leader on immigration issues in the Senate, and he understands how allowing illegal immigration to go unchecked makes our country less safe and hurts the overall economy.
Since taking office, President Trump and Attorney General Sessions have started to enforce our immigration laws again, deport criminal illegal immigrants, crack down on so-called “sanctuary cities,” and end the unconstitutional DACA program. These policies have resulted in illegal immigration across our southern borders being down over 70 percent since Trump took office.
In the House, we are focused on doing our part to combat illegal immigration and ensure the Trump Administration has the resources they need to get the job done.
Just a few weeks ago, the House passed a government funding bill that included $1.5 billion for border wall construction. This is the amount President Trump says he needs to start construction of a wall along our southern borders and make repairs to the current border wall. This funding bill is now headed to the Senate, where I fear it may get bogged down in their outdated procedures.
Despite the problems in the Senate, I pledge to continue working with President Trump and his administration to ensure funding is provided to build the wall and boost our border security program. Keeping the American people safe and securing the border should not be a partisan issue.
Earlier this year, we succeeded in getting a bill signed into law that represented the largest increase in border security funding in almost a decade. That funding bill allowed for the hiring of new border patrol agents and provided funding to purchase new, innovative border security technology.
Cities who refuse to enforce federal immigration laws and do not cooperate with federal law enforcement, known as sanctuary cities, are a big issue. Knowing that, earlier this year I voted in favor of a bill to cut off federal funding sources for these sanctuary cities that refuse to enforce our nation’s laws. If a city refuses to enforce the laws of our country, then they should not receive a penny in federal funding.
Another big issue stemming from out-of-control illegal immigration is criminal gangs, like MS-13. MS-13 is a brutal and violent criminal gang responsible for many murders across the United States.
Recently, the House passed the Criminal Gang Member Removal Act. This commonsense legislation strengthens public safety by making it harder for members of criminal gangs to enter our country. Just as important, the bill makes being a part of a criminal gang a deportable offense. We must do everything in our power to keep gang members out of our country.
I applauded the recent decision by President Trump to end President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program, implemented through executive action, was an affront to the Constitution and our system of government. I am hopeful we can use this decision to pass important border security legislation while deciding how to best deal with those individuals who were brought to our country illegally as children.
Ultimately, we must continue working to follow through on our shared priority of cracking down on illegal immigration. The safety, security, and well-being of the American people must always come first.