Responded to Rep. Carney re immigration

SECURE AMERICA’S FUTURE ECONOMY, advocating smaller, more focused, less costly government since 1996

July 18, 2014

Dear Representative Carney:

CC: Senators Carper and Coons

This responds to your 7/17/14 letter re the need for “Congress to move forward on a bipartisan basis to sensible immigration reform.”

We agree the system is not working and needs to be fixed. Having done our due diligence on the Senate immigration bill, however, we don’t agree that it was a “good start.” In our opinion, a very different approach is needed. Please see the SAFE study that is posted on the Political System page of our website: Immigration Reform (June 2013), and a recent update posted on the Blog page.

The current flood of minors from Central America was not precipitated by rising violence in Central America, as you suggest, but rather by a prevalent belief (supported by administrative practice and a statute enacted in 2008) that the people involved would be allowed to stay if they made it across the border. Report: Unaccompanied minors coming to US for amnesty, not fleeing violence, Katie Pavlich,, 7/16/14.

Realistically, the way to fix the problem is to amend the 2008 statute so that minors from noncontiguous countries can be returned promptly to their home countries just as minors from Mexico are treated if they attempt entry. The word would soon get around that there is no “permiso” for illegal entry by Central American minors. Otherwise, these folks will keep coming – no matter how much money is spent on border security, looking after them, and scheduling judicial hearings that most of them will not show up for.

If you have questions or we can help further, please advise.


Letter from Representative John Carney
July 17, 2014

Thank you for taking the time to contact me about this issue. I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.

Let me begin by saying that our nation's immigration laws are outdated and broken -- there are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. At the same time, many workers with the skills and experience American companies need are unable to obtain visas to work here legally. We need a modern immigration system that will both safeguard America's security and promote its prosperity. In my view, that requires Congress to move forward in a bipartisan way toward sensible immigration reform.

As you mentioned, there has been a flood of undocumented children at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent weeks, which has further called our current immigration policies into question. The arrival of thousands of unaccompanied minors is primarily due to the widespread violence and unrest in certain Central American countries. It's a travesty that the parents of these children feel that sending these youth to our borders is the only way to keep them safe and give them the opportunity for a better future. That said, the influx of these unaccompanied minors at our borders has set off a humanitarian and security crisis.

The Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill that represents a good start to solving our nation's immigration crisis. It would have allocated more than $40 billion in new resources to adequately deal with border security issues, like the current influx of undocumented children. For more than a year, I have urged House leadership to allow this bill or any other comprehensive immigration reform proposal to come to a vote before our chamber.

Refusing to act continues to threaten our national security and quality of life for residents of border towns and cities. Without a legislative fix, we will continue to see crisis after crisis at our border. In the meantime, we need to address the situation that confronts us, which is the sad reality of tens of thousands of children who are here without parents, and in many cases, with no safe home to return to. As Congress considers options to address the current crisis, I will be sure to keep your views in mind.

In closing, let me reiterate that a smart immigration policy is not only good for Delaware and the country -- it's the right thing to do. We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. Making pragmatic reforms is important to ensure that our laws fit today's needs, while maintaining our nation's position as a beacon of hope for people all over the world.

I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I am grateful for the trust Delawareans have placed in me and take seriously my responsibility to represent them in Congress. I look forward to serving you in the coming years.

John Carney
Member of Congress
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