HOUSTON, Texas–The George W. Bush Institute held an immigration reform panel this week that completely ignored any meaningful discussion of border security. The panelists called for a “bipartisan approach” on fixing the immigration system. The panelists claimed immediate immigration reform would somehow reduce the burden on taxpayers, improve the economy, and ensure long-term health for the Republican Party.
The panel’s message was being addressed, not just to the audience, but to the wider conservative voters of Texas, according to an article by David Flick in the Dallas Morning News. “The only way we will get absolute security at our borders is to allow legal immigration for people who want to come here to work,” said Bill Hammond, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business.
Scott Braddock of the Quorum Report served as the moderator of the panel made up of members of the business, religious and political communities. Members of the panel included: Republican State Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas); Joe Green, FWD.us; Bill Hammond, Texas Association of Business; and Daniel Sanchez, a professor of missions at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Interestingly, there were no panelists included with strong border security backgrounds.
State Rep. Villalba reminded the audience that Hispanics were rapidly approaching a majority status in Texas demographics. “In two or three election cycles, you’ll see Hispanics holding the ballot box,” Villalba said. “If you don’t get 40, 44 percent of that vote, you’re going to vanish.”
The Dallas Morning News did not report anyone on the panel making the case for increased border security. Nor did it report any comments from Joe Green with the left-leaning organization, FWD.us.
Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby, who has spent the past year and a half doing in depth border investigations, spoke critically on the matter and said, “The simple fact is that any immigration reform that doesn’t start with comprehensive border security reform would not have stopped any of these unaccompanied minors or incomplete family units from illegally crossing into the U.S. and turning themselves in to Border Patrol agents.”
“This could only have been avoided by a comprehensive border security reform that holds our southern neighbor responsible for what they allow to pass through their territory. If they knew that they would foot the bill for any expenses the U.S. taxpayer expends on anyone who comes through their territory, this would cease immediately.”
Darby continued, “Politically, the climate is such that any talk of amnesty will result in our southern neighbors attempting a better life and coming here. The climate is also one where we will get comprehensive border security reform through prior to any immigration reform. Any Democrat or Republican saying otherwise is either woefully ignorant or simply lying for political gain.”
Breitbart Texas border security analyst Sylvia Longmire offered a different perspective. “Based on available resources in terms of both money and personnel,” she said, “it’s logistically impossible to prevent all truly determined illegal immigrants from crossing our southwest border. Border security measures notwithstanding, they are also able to use our current immigration policies to their advantage in order to either stay in the US permanently or at least for an extended period.”
“I believe the first step towards stemming the flow is not to provide blanket amnesty, but thoroughly revised immigration policies that benefit our economy and still put Americans first while allowing for more streamlined legal immigration procedures. By removing that administrative burden from our law enforcement agencies on the border, only then can they focus on the real threats to our national security–armed and violent drug smugglers, human traffickers, and potential terrorists–and take more concrete steps towards securing our border without having to waste billions more taxpayer dollars on a strategy that hasn’t been working,” Longmire concluded.
Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T and host of the immigration reform panel, admitted discussion of immigration reform in Congress this session was dead after this latest border surge of unaccompanied children and families invaded South Texas and the resounding defeat of now former majority leader Eric Cantor. “It’s really hard, but it’s really important,” he said. “Doing nothing is in reality a decision. … It’s deciding to ignore a major festering problem.”
Taking the religious approach to appealing to the humanitarian compassion of conservatives, Professor Daniel Sanchez told the panel that, as a youth he held menial jobs including working as a migrant farm worker before he was of legal age. He said his life was better because he was given a chance. “I encounter a lot of young people out there, and all they are asking for is a chance,” he said.
Sanchez referred back to Jesus’ days as a refugee in Egypt. “Jesus once said, ‘I was a stranger, and you took me in,'” he said. “If Jesus were to say to you personally, ‘I was a stranger and you ___,’ how would you finish that sentence?”
While the debate over immigration reform continues, the unsecured border and rumored promises of bus tickets to anywhere in America for anyone who can make it across the border has led to the current massive invasion of unaccompanied minors and women traveling with small children. This dangerous journey as led to the deaths of a large and growing number of illegal immigrants and a new cash crop for coyotes who smuggle people into the country and turn young girls into sex slaves via the human trafficking market as has been reported extensively by Breitbart News for several years.
Bob Price is a staff writer and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.