In a positive development for our nation’s ongoing effort to stop illegal immigration, the president recently signed into law legislation that provides needed funding for border security programs. The funds were contained in the 2009 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill, which was included in a larger bill passed by Congress in September. The legislation contained funding that will greatly assist DHS in cracking down on illegal immigration and keeping our nation more secure.
With over 12 million people currently living in our country illegally, there is no question that our borders are broken. Illegal immigration is a serious problem that needs a serious solution. I have been glad to work with other like-minded members of Congress to increase funding for border enforcement and other programs that crack down on illegal immigration. We have made progress, but there is more work to be done.
SECURING OUR BORDER
I have visited the border at the Rio Grande River and witnessed firsthand the challenges facing our border patrol agents. To help them do their job better, I supported the Secure Fence Act of 2006, legislation that authorized the construction of nearly 700 miles of reinforced fence along our southern border. The bill also authorized more vehicle barriers along the border, as well as the use of more satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor our borders and stop those attempting to cross illegally. The DHS funding bill recently signed by the president included $775 million to complete the construction of the fencing along our southern border, as well as funding for 2,200 new border patrol agents.
Increasing security efforts along our southern border is not the sole solution to our illegal immigration problem. We must also do a better job of enforcing the laws against hiring illegals. If illegal immigrants cannot find work, they will be much less inclined to break our laws by entering the country. To help achieve this goal, I strongly support E-Verify, an online tool that allows employers to check the legal status of workers. While not perfect, E-Verify provides businesses and farmers in Mississippi and across the country with the best technology available to verify a prospective employee’s status. I also believe that employers who use E-Verify should be provided protection from any mistakes or shortcomings in the program. I was glad to support the recent reauthorization of this vital program, which had been set to expire at the end of this month.
A NATION OF LAWS
In the Senate, I helped form the Border Security and Enforcement First Caucus. The caucus goals are full enforcement of existing immigration laws, stronger border security and interior enforcement legislation, and ensuring that amnesty is never given to illegal immigrants.
Our nation was built upon the rule of law. Mississippians understand that, and they expect Congress to enforce those laws to the fullest. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to advance policies that will help us put an end to illegal immigration in our country.