America has a unique history. We are a melting pot, a nation made unusually strong by the wonderful blend of those who legally entered our country in pursuit of dreams and limitless opportunity made possible through hard work, not lineage or privilege. My ancestors came from Europe, and part of my wife’s family emigrated from Lebanon.
Today, the melting pot is under stress because of a broken immigration system and unsecured borders. The senseless murder of Kate Steinle by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco is just one tragic example.
The existence of “sanctuary cities” flaunts the rule of law and provides incentives for illegal immigrants to continue breaking our laws. Common sense says we must enforce the law, which is why I have co-sponsored the Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal Act (H.R. 2964). The CLEAR Act will ensure local governments do not prohibit their law enforcement agencies from assisting the federal government in enforcing immigration laws.
Sanctuary cities aren’t the only ones making matters worse by ignoring the law. Last year, President Obama’s politically-motivated Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program gave desperate Central American families the false impression of a free pass into the United States, leading to a flood of unaccompanied minors and a crisis at the border.
The President’s executive overreach has been blocked by two Federal courts, and the House of Representatives continues to take action to hold the President accountable. As your Congressman, I have supported and co-sponsored several pieces of legislation to block President Obama’s executive orders, including H.R. 1148, introduced by my friend Congressman Gowdy, which would prevent any funds (appropriated or collected by the agency) from being used to implement President Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty plans.
The first and most critical step to immigration reform is securing our borders. No immigration reform will be successful until we block the flow of illegal immigrants. Currently, the Government Accountability Office reports only 129 miles out of the 873 miles studied are under full control along the southern border. To help push for better border security, I serve on the House Border Security Caucus.
Border security is also a critical national security issue, as it is vital that we know who is in our country.
We must remember that we are proudly a nation of immigrants, and I salute those who play by the rules and undergo the substantial effort to enter America legally. Surprisingly, I was the first United States Congressman to speak at a citizenship ceremony at the Federal Courthouse in Charlotte, and I continue to speak at these deeply moving ceremonies on a regular basis.
My office works daily to help constituents navigate the legal immigration system, including assistance for those who fall through the cracks. Any resident of North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District who needs help navigating federal red tape is encouraged to call my Charlotte office at 704-362-1060.
We need to secure the borders, ensure the rules are fair, support a suitable work-visa program, and provide real consequences for those who break the rules.
America is a nation of laws, and we function best when those laws are applied fairly and equally.
More on Immigration
Congressman Pittenger’s interview from today’s “The Morning Briefing” on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel discussing immigration, ISIS and the 2015 Congress.