A Texas Democrat said amnesty for illegal immigrants should not be conditioned on securing the border, even as thousands of illegal immigrants from Central America are flooding across it.
At a House Homeland Security Committee Field Hearing on Thursday, Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX), who has been a big proponent of amnesty legislation, said that “border security” is about keeping illegal immigrants from entering the country and a “pathway to citizenship” refers to the nearly “eleven million people who are here.”
“Those two things should be addressed separately,” he said. “I do not think our work on immigration reform should be conditioned on border security.”
Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) later mentioned that he was just as worried about the “eleven million more illegal immigrants” who will enter the country because of the non-enforcement of the current laws and the various inducements the federal government has given. After saying that countries like Mexico needed to be more responsible, Barletta asked, “Why this is always America’s problem?” Critics of “comprehensive immigration reform” have indicated that amnesty legislation would do no good – and only attract more illegal immigrants – if the country’s borders are not secure.
There have been at least 50,000 illegal immigrant children who have entered the country since October of last year, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry said at least 160,000 more are expected to try next year. Numerous illegal immigrants interviewed in recent weeks have said they made the journey because they believed the Obama administration would not deport them once they made it across the border.