Protecting Our Borders
December 16, 2005
Washington, DC - Congressman Gene Green (TX-29) released the following statement regarding voting against HR 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration control Act of 2005.
I voted against this bill with reservation. There are aspects of the bill I strongly support, such as strengthening security along the border and preventing immigration officials from having to catch and release undocumented aliens that are detained due to lack of space in our detention facilities
I have co-sponsored legislation that addresses both these problems. However, I could not support the bill as it was brought to the Floor of the House.
Under this bill, approximately 11 million people in this country would become aggravated felons. Currently, 40 percent of immigration detainees are held in Department of Homeland Security facilities; 60 percent of these detainees are in local jails under contract with the Federal Government.
There are not enough prisons to handle these numbers. I cannot imagine our country loading box cars with an estimated 11 million people who do not have documents showing they are legal. This brings visions of deportations in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Soviet Union.
The Federal Government needs to take responsibility for holding all of these detainees. Adding 11 million felons will overwhelm our already overcrowded prison system.
Also, it is estimated that there are approximately 3 million U.S. citizen children that would be impacted by having their undocumented parents or guardians detained or deported. This is something we need to review closely and make sure we are not making life harder for children that are U.S. citizens who happen to be born to undocumented parents.
I believe in increasing protection along our borders and realistically addressing the current undocumented population; but I also oppose a new guest worker program.