For far too long, our immigration system has been in shambles. Our borders are weak and are current laws are not being enforced. This has allowed drug smugglers, human traffickers, transnational gangs like MS-13, and terrorists to gain entry to our great state. As Texans, we have seen the results of these failed polices firsthand.
In a time when our enemies are working overtime to find new ways to attack us, we must work harder than ever to protect our homeland. That is why I have worked with Chairman Bob Goodlatte, of the House Judiciary Committee, to introduce the Securing America’s Future Act.
This all-encompassing legislation is based on the main pillars President Trump laid out earlier this month: securing our borders, ending chain migration and terminating the Visa Lottery Program to move our immigration system towards a more merit-based system, and codifying DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) the constitutional way. To secure our borders, our legislation incorporates my border bill and provides $30 billion to build the wall, invest in new technology, and add more boots on the ground. Our bill also deploys 21st century technology to provide intelligence and increase air and marine patrols allowing us to know where and when people are attempting to cross our border. This will be especially critical along our ports of entry where we will implement biometric entry-exit systems to ensure those entering and leaving the country are who they claim to be.
These changes in policy mean nothing if we do not enforce our existing laws though. To accomplish this, we authorize 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents and another 5,000 additional Customs and Border Protection officers. Border security is a federal responsibility and Texans should not continue to bear this burden alone.
However, even with a properly secured border, there are overhauls needed to our immigration policies if we are going to control the flood of illegal immigration.
We have seen our failed immigration policies lead directly to tragedy in the United States. For example, the attack in New York City last October that left eight dead and injured 11 was carried out by Sayfullo Saipov, a man from Uzbekistan who entered our country through the Diversity Visa Program. One month later, Akayed Ullah, a man from Bangladesh arrived to the U.S. through chain migration and proceeded to carry out another attack in New York. In 2015, we learned the story of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, who had been deported on five previous occasions before being released by San Francisco authorities. He went on to shoot and kill an innocent young woman. For the safety of the American people, these attacks prove that we cannot allow the failed policies of the past to remain in place.
Targeting individuals who overstay their visas by mandating employees to use the E-Verify system must also be a priority. This precise and effective system will not only ensure that legal workers are hired, but it will help crackdown on aliens who are gang members, aggravated felons, sex offenders, or have multiple DUIs. In addition, this legislation cracks down on sanctuary cities by allowing for the Justice Department to withhold funds to those who refuse federal immigration authorities. These reckless sanctuary policies have put the American people at a greater risk and it is no longer acceptable.
This is an historic opportunity. Finally securing our borders will keep Texans – and all Americans – safe from those who seek to do us harm. This is an issue I have been working on since I first came to Washington and have been diligent about during my tenure as Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Now that we finally have a president who is putting America first, we can deliver the security that all Americans want, need, and deserve.