Wed, 2013-01-30 08:07 AM
By: Mark Rockwell
Government Security News

Sen. Marco Rubio

Key Republican Senate and House leaders have signaled caution in the push for an overhaul of immigration laws, citing the need for more border enforcement as reforms are crafted.

A bi-partisan group of senators introduced a plan for sweeping immigration reform on Jan. 28. President Obama followed with a very similar plan on Jan. 29, vowing to press his plan through if Congress stalls in its efforts.

However, border enforcement looms as a potential sticking point. The Senate plan advocated increasing border and immigration enforcement as a condition for moving ahead with additional reforms.

One of the Republicans that sponsored the Senate plan, Marco Rubio (R-FL) said in a statement after the president’s announcement that he is “concerned by the president’s unwillingness to accept significant enforcement triggers before current undocumented immigrants can apply for a green card.”

“Without such triggers in place,” he said, “enforcement systems will never be implemented, and we will be back in just a few years dealing with millions of new undocumented people in our country.”

The sentiment was echoed in reactions from GOP leaders in the House, where there is reportedly less consensus on immigration overhaul. “The Senate blueprint appropriately made securing our borders a priority, while the administration appears content to once again neglect to do so,” said a Jan. 29 statement from the chairman of the House homeland security committee Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX). “While the administration has claimed successes in stopping illegal crossings, the fact remains apprehensions have once again increased,” he said.

“For this effort to succeed, immigration reform must employ what I have advocated since coming to congress, which is the use of enhanced technology on our borders,” said McCaul. “Using drones, additional agents and existing Department of Defense sensor surveillance systems proven to work in Iraq and Afghanistan, we can secure our borders sooner and without duplicating the cost to taxpayers,” he said.

Discussions of immigration reform, he added, should include strengthening DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s efforts to find visa overstays and deporting dangerous criminal aliens. “Anything less leaves our nation vulnerable to terrorists, like those who attacked us on 9/11, and criminal aliens who are released on our soil,” he said.

Senate and House Republican leaders cautious on enforcement in new immigration push | Government Security News