U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) delivered a speech on the Senate floor yesterday on the current Central American refugee crisis.
Last week, he joined U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on a tour of the temporary facility for undocumented parents and their children at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center campus in Artesia, New Mexico. In his remarks Senator Heinrich touched on the nature of the current crisis, and the false claims from some that there is lax security at the border.
We have a human crisis at our southern border that requires an immediate, but compassionate response. Yet instead of supporting the supplemental, which seeks to addresses the root causes of the crisis and protects these vulnerable children, Republicans are trying to use the crisis to promote fear and their border enforcement only agenda.
Recently, a Republican Governor suggested the president send the National Guard to “Secure [the southern] border once and for all,” and that “the border between the U.S. and Mexico is less secure today than at any time in the recent past.”
That is simply not true.
The notion that lax border policies are somehow responsible for this latest crisis is not just a myth, it is a willful misrepresentation driven by politicians who would rather create a political issue than solve a real problem. The border today is more secure than it has ever been.
There are more border patrol agents on the ground and more resources and technology deployed on the border than in any time in our nation’s entire history. In FY 2012, the Federal government spent $17.9 billion on immigration enforcement. That is $3.5 billion more than the budgets of all other Federal law enforcement agencies–FBI, DEA,ATF, Secret Service, and U.S. Marshalls Service–combined. These resources have been effective.
Senator Heinrich has long been a strong advocate for comprehensive immigration reform, and is a proponent of the president’s emergency supplemental request to address the increase in child and adult migration from Central America in the Rio Grande Valley Areas of the Southwest border. He once again called on House Republicans to pass immigration reform.
“It’s time to fix our broken immigration system once and for all. Our short-term solution is to approve the President’s emergency supplemental request now – our long-term solution is for House Republicans to put the Senate’s immigration reform bill on the floor for a vote.
“Our nation will be better for it” Senator Heinrich said.