|WASHINGTON – Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, today urged colleagues to vote against H.R. 2203, the Homeland Security Improvement Act.
“Congress should use this opportunity to advance a bipartisan bill to address the causes of the border crisis and prevent another one from happening,” Rogers said on the House floor. “Unfortunately, Democrats have chosen to squander the opportunity. Instead, they’ve decided to move yet another partisan messaging bill that stands no chance of becoming law. All this bill does is waste taxpayer’s dollars on a duplicative new office designed to demoralize law enforcement and serve the demands of illegal immigrants. It should really be called the Illegal Immigrant Customer Service Act.”
Rogers full remarks, as prepared for delivery, below:
Over this past fiscal year, law enforcement has encountered nearly 1 million migrants illegally crossing the southwest border. For months, record numbers of migrant families and unaccompanied children overwhelmed obsolete Customs and Border Protection facilities, creating an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.
And for months, Democrats did nothing. They said the crisis wasn’t real. They said that the President somehow manufactured it.
Then, after months of ignoring pictures of children and families living in overcrowded conditions, Democrats finally agreed to the President’s request for emergency funding. Now, thanks to that funding and the Administration’s efforts to reach agreements with Mexico and some Northern Triangle countries, the crisis has finally abated.
Congress should use this opportunity to advance a bipartisan bill to address the causes of the border crisis and prevent another one from happening. Unfortunately, Democrats have chosen to squander the opportunity. Instead, they’ve decided to move yet another partisan messaging bill that stands no chance of becoming law.
All this bill does is waste taxpayer’s dollars on a duplicative new office designed to demoralize law enforcement and serve the demands of illegal immigrants.
It should really be called the Illegal Immigrant Customer Service Act.
The bill creates a new ombudsman at the Department of Homeland Security to collect and review complaints made by illegal immigrants against federal law enforcement officers.
The Department already has an Inspector General and an Office for Civil Rights and Liberties required by law to collect and investigate complaints against all DHS personnel, as well as recommend relief for the complainant. Both offices maintain tip lines and websites to collect complaints and both regularly report to Congress on their caseload.
It’s unclear how creating another bureaucrat with a duplicative mission will improve the current process. It is clear however, that this new bureaucrat will further demoralize the men and women of law enforcement. The bill empowers the ombudsman to scrutinize the training and conduct of ICE and CBP officers on an ongoing basis.
The bill also includes a bogus oversight panel comprised of experts in so-called “quality of life indicators” to make recommendations on how ICE and CBP officers should carry out their law enforcement mission.
Every day, the men and women of ICE and CBP put their lives in danger to keep our families and communities safe. They faithfully and skillfully carry out their duty to enforce federal immigration law. Congress should be moving legislation to thank them, not second-guess and criticize them.
Mr.Speaker, this legislation started out as an attempt by Democrats to appease radical, left-wing, open-border activists.
The original bill was chock full of so many absurd provisions that the Speaker was forced to pull it from floor consideration in July. The bill has been rewritten six times to get it to this point – where just enough Democrats will vote for it.
But it didn’t have to be such a partisan exercise. We could have worked together to move comprehensive legislation to truly prevent another crisis at our border.
Republicans are ready and willing to work with Democrats on serious proposals to: reform our asylum laws to reduce the pull factors for illegal immigration; Protect vulnerable families and children from exploitation by human smugglers; expand migrant processing and long-term housing facilities to eliminate dangerous overcrowding; and hire additional immigration lawyers and judges to reduce the unprecedented backlog in asylum cases.
When this partisan bill fails to move in the Senate, I hope Democrats will finally choose policy over politics and will agree to work with Republicans on solutions to our border security problems.