Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) said at a Thursday press conference that the concept of a “path to citizenship” being promoted by those pushing immigration reform is a sign to him that they are not actually trying to solve the problems this country has with illegal immigration.
“As this issue comes to the forefront here, it’s interesting that there’s any talk at all about ‘a pathway to citizenship,'” Barletta said. “As soon as I hear that, I think political. We would not be talking about any type of pathway to citizenship if we were serious about solving the problem of illegal immigration and we only need to go back to 1986 to prove that point.”
Barletta cites how President Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to a large contingent of illegal immigrants in exchange for promises of border security in the future that did not end up happening.
“In 1986, when Ronald Reagan gave amnesty to 1.5 million illegal aliens, we promised the American people that we would secure the border and this would never happen again,” Barletta said.
But, as soon as that declaration of amnesty was made, the number swelled to 3 million. Well here we are, 27 years later, with an estimated 11 million people here now illegally. As Ronald Reagan would say, “here we go again.” We’re authoring amnesty at a time when we know our borders aren’t secure and just today, as I said, you now have encouraged people to come here illegally. We’ve given a green light to people all over the world to come to the United States and steal jobs away from the American people when 22 million Americans are out of work. Legal immigrants who are starting here are going to have to compete for jobs with millions more.
Barletta was previously the mayor of Hazleton, PA, a city with a large illegal immigrant population despite its distance from U.S. borders, before being elected to the U.S. Congress in 2010. “As most of you know, my fight against illegal immigration goes back to my time as mayor of Hazleton when I created the first law of its kind in the country in dealing with that problem,” Barletta told reporters at the Thursday press conference.
“It was interesting to note that Hazleton is 2,000 miles away from the nearest southern border. It was not a city where you would expect to have a problem with illegal immigration, but I did.”