Victims' Rights Caucus

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Solving illegal immigration: Local congressmen deliberate

Houston Community Newspapers

1960 Sun

By:Kentesheia Dockery, Staff Writer

03/07/2007

Producing a practical solution for illegal immigration in Texas has been a difficult task for elected officials on the state and national level.

Judge Ted Poe, R-2, suggests a three-step process which begins with regulating the border.

"If you don't solve that problem you'll never solve immigration," he said.

Poe spoke passionately to North Houston Association members during a U.S. Congressional luncheon which also included comrades Gene Green, D-29, and Michael McCaul, R-10.

Simply stated, Poe said the U.S. initiates "lip service" by protecting other nations while doing nothing to secure its own borders.

Secondly, he said the way the country provides immigration chaos is arbitrarily inefficient.

"They discriminate and let 1.2 million people in here a year and 50 percent of them never leave and that constantly adds people to illegal immigrant status," he said. "Twenty million people are here illegally and not all of them are here to do work.

"There are three problems here and three solutions and we need to deal with them in the right order, but Congress wants to deal with it in a package."

"This is a product of the federal government turning its blind eye," said McCaul, member of Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs. "Now we're stuck with this mess."

McCaul reiterated to NHA members that Sept. 11 hijackers entered the country legally, but overstayed their visa limitations. It is yet another reason why he and other congressional members continue to be restless about homeland security and weapons of mass destruction.

"I'm concerned with the person who's going to strap himself with a bomb and walk into one of my elementary schools," Green said. "I have heard of about 40 percent of people not coming in not through the border of Mexico, but through our airports and ports with visas."

"What people want from us is operational control," McCaul said. "So, you're going to see division between those who support amnesty and those who don't."

Poe and McCaul's definition of amnesty varies from Green's beliefs because he thinks the government should issue a fine for people with expired credentials.

"If they're outlaws, let's deport them. We need to have a way to deport people who overstay their visa and no more 'catch and release,'" Green said. "Twelve to 20 million people haven't gotten into trouble, want to work, pay taxes and would want to pay a fine. I think we should let them get out from under hiding and make them jump through hoops like they're willing to do."

Since becoming an elected official, Green has initiated a citizenship day for 30 years for people needing to update their visas.

Moreover, he said, METRO doesn't have enough business to deport the millions of people with expired visas - some of whom have lived in the U.S. longer than most here.