On the border crisis, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is leading the Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) brigade in the House.
The six-term lawmaker has introduced the House companion to Cruz’s bill seeking to block President Barack Obama from implementing more executive amnesty via programs like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) plan.
“What we are trying to do is freeze any funding that would be going to this–this is what we’re hearing is that this is the root cause of all these people coming across the border,” Blackburn said in a phone interview with Breitbart News after she introduced the bill. She continued:
You’ve got the coyotes saying that if we can get them there, they’re not going to deport them because the president has this directive for these unaccompanied alien children. So, what our bill would do is to freeze the funding on that–we don’t think there’s any need for more funding. It would end the prosecutorial discretion which basically promotes amnesty and provides amnesty to the illegal alien minors, and then it would make sure there is no work authorization for the illegal alien children or those who illegally came here as children. You have to go back and remove the impact of this executive order that was signed in June of 2012.
While the border must be secured, Blackburn said, the root of the problem–the flow of illegal immigration–needs to be stopped by President Obama, whom she said must “rescind” the DACA executive order and other non-enforcement orders the president has issued over the years that prohibit law enforcement officers from the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other agencies from enforcing America’s immigration laws. Blackburn said:
When you talk with people who are on the border and who are dealing with this situation, when you look at the escalation rates on the numbers–in 2009, for unaccompanied minors, they had 6,089 come across the border,” Blackburn said. “In 2013, they had 24,658 come across the border. The numbers tell the story. When you go back and look at the facts, you see such dramatic increases that are happening and it is tied to this executive memo that was signed in June of 2012, and then you know what you got to do is get that thing off the books.
Blackburn also said that “of course,” if the president grants more executive amnesty to millions more illegal aliens–as he is reported to be planning to do–“it would make the problem worse.” She said that the children and other vulnerable illegal aliens are being taken advantage of by transnational criminal organizations, smugglers, and traffickers who exploit the weaknesses in America’s immigration laws. Blackburn went on to say:
The thing that is incredibly sad to me is that these children and families that are in Central America who are being preyed on by the Coyotes are just pawns in this administration’s political agenda, and this push to force the issue of immigration reform. This is completely inappropriate, and it’s something that we need to make sure gets terminated, the border is secured, and these countries are dealt with. When all of this started and the president was going to ask for a supplemental, I said this is just bad. First of all, we don’t have the money. Secondly, why would we put more money in this and incentivize bad action? What we ought to do is let them know there will be no more money.
Blackburn scoffed at how the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that in President Obama’s proposed $3.7 billion supplemental appropriations request, the president planned to spend just $25 million of it in 2014.
“Isn’t this always the way it goes?” she said. “You have all this non-emergency spending that gets wrapped up into an emergency supplemental. The American people are tired of it. The people who live on the southern border are witnessing their communities be overrun. There are communities around the country that do not want to have the impact of these children coming into these communities, and they’re concerned about the situation with schools and costs.”
Blackburn said that 50 percent of the children experience some kind of sexual abuse by traffickers on their way to America, and called on the president to offer leadership to stop this. She added:
The children in the facilities that I’ve visited are just bewildered. I just am so concerned about them–the ones who have been trafficked, who have been sexually abused. Fifty percent of these children have been sexually abused along the way. This is such a travesty. This situation has truly turned every state into a border state, every town into a border town. It is imperative that the president be resolute, that he take the leadership in this situation, that he work with these governors to make sure the border is secured and that he makes sure to let these countries know these children will be coming back home. They are not going to be staying here. We’re going to be firm in dealing with them and addressing the violence issues that are in these countries, but these children are not going to be staying here.
Blackburn said there are serious concerns around America, especially about public health, regarding what kind of impact these illegal aliens will have on communities they are being brought to by the Obama administration.
“People are quite concerned about how this is going to impact our nation’s sovereignty, and how it is going to impact communities,” Blackburn said. “The public health security of our nation, issues with smallpox and scabies and TB–those are true concerns for Americans and for the Border Patrol working to end this, and the National Guard who are on the border, and for the direct-care providers in these facilities trying to care for these children.”
Blackburn also had harsh words for Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), who last week claimed at a press conference that the border is secure.
“Maybe Senator Reid needs to go to the border for a visit,” she said. “And maybe he needs to go work with some of the Border Patrol agents and talk to some of the people who are dealing with this problem every single day, because the border is definitely not secured. You can read any news report going and tell that it isn’t.”