Rep. Lipinski Releases Statement on Immigration Legislation

Statement from Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3):

“It is in our national interest for Congress to act on immigration reform in a comprehensive manner.  If Congress fails to act, President Obama is nearly certain to take further executive action on the suspension of deportations.  What this means is that we will not have a comprehensive solution that includes a guarantee of border security and internal enforcement – two necessary pieces of comprehensive reform.  Taking executive action on deportations will not solve the problem of illegal immigration and will allow the continued illegal flow of immigrants into the U.S.  In 1986, Congress passed and President Reagan signed a law which granted amnesty to millions with the promise of border security and internal enforcement; a promise that was never fulfilled, leading to the situation we now face.  We cannot go down that failed path again of a non-comprehensive solution.

“In order to push the House to address immigration reform in a comprehensive manner, today I signed the discharge petition for H.R. 15, the House version of the immigration bill the Senate passed last year.  While I have strong reservations about this bill, Speaker Boehner has already stated that the House will not vote on H.R. 15, so the threat of a successful discharge petition could force House leaders to bring alternative immigration reform legislation to the floor. 

“Comprehensive immigration reform must implement secure borders, a tracking system for visa holders (who account for approximately 40% of unlawful residents), and an enforcement of immigration law on employers.  For too long America has not been serious about these issues.  This is evident in the fact that an estimated 10 to 12 million people are unlawfully residing in the United States.  Congress must act to change this status quo. 

“In doing this reform we have to set up the system by which - after the security facets have been implemented - we will address those living in this country unlawfully.  Clearly there is a big difference between unlawful immigrants who have committed serious crimes (who must serve their punishments and then be deported) and those who are serving bravely in our armed forces.  I believe most people who immigrate to America do it so that they have an opportunity to work hard and make a better life for themselves and for their family.  They are not freeloaders looking for a handout, they want to live the American Dream.  But this does not mean that everyone who is able to enter our borders should be able to stay.  After all, that would suggest that our borders should be open to anyone and everyone in the world who declares a good intention when crossing our borders.  But we must also accept that once we implement the necessary security measures, it is not possible to remove all unlawful immigrants from our country and it is not in the best interest of our nation to try to do so. 

“America is a nation of immigrants.  Congress should debate and develop comprehensive immigration reform legislation that continues to allow immigrants to contribute to and become a part of our nation, while also stopping illegal immigration, protecting American workers, growing the economy, and not driving up the national debt, not just in the near term but in the long term.”