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Monday, February 25, 2013
Senate immigration draft rejected by Arizona Republicans
February 19, 2013
by Ginger Gibson
All four Republican Arizona House members penned a letter Tuesday voicing opposition to the bipartisan immigration proposal rolled out in the Senate by the Gang of Eight, a group led in part by Arizona Sen. John McCain.
In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) obtained by POLITICO, the four House members argue that border security must be at the forefront of any immigration debate. Only after the border has been secured should Congress take up immigration reform.
“As the House begins to debate possible immigration reform proposals, it is vitally important to those of us who represent Border States that the first priority of any reform is securing our Southwest border,” the four congressmen write.
Reps. Matt Salmon, Trent Franks, Paul Gosar and David Schweikert point to the escalating drug cartel violence along the U.S.-Mexico border and the ability for people from “countries unfriendly to the U.S.” to enter the country through the Southern border.
“Only after first securing our borders can we begin to contemplate discussions of additional immigration reform,” the quartet writes.
The bipartisan Senate plan being would create a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States. But as a compromise, the path is contingent on the border being secured first, a requirement that has stirred opposition from some Republicans who worry that the determination will be made prematurely by the Obama administration.
The Senators have yet to introduce any legislation, but the principles that were outlined by those supporting the deal would allow Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to determine when the border is secured.
The four Arizona House Republicans argued that the determination must be based on data and “independent third-party evaluations rather than bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. with political motives.”
“If we do not follow this protocol, we will replay the failed immigration reforms of 1986 when we lost the trust of those in our communities to take on the difficult task of securing our borders,” the group writes. “We cannot allow this to happen again.”
The Senate sponsors had hoped to see a bill pass through their chamber in the spring or early summer, which would send the measure over to the less-receptive Republican-controlled House. In an effort to encourage bipartisan support, President Barack Obama has warned that he will begin pushing his own measure if an agreement is not struck by both chambers.
Draft legislation from the White House, which is more liberal than the Gang of Eight proposal, leaked to the public over the weekend.
is a grassroots coalition of groups and individuals united in our belief that a border wall will not stop illegal immigration or smuggling and will not make the United States any safer. It will do irreparable harm to our borderlands and our country as a whole. We urge our elected representatives to reject the border wall and repeal the Secure Fence Act and the Real ID Act.