Ruppersberger: Border Wall Must Hinge on Real Reform
(Washington, DC) – Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger today urged his colleagues to support his amendment making any border wall funding contingent on enactment of bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform that passed the U.S. Senate four years ago.
The House this week is set to vote on an Appropriations package made up of the Defense, Military Construction & VA, Legislative Branch, and Energy & Water Appropriations bills, including $1.6 billion to begin construction of President Trump’s wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Congressman Ruppersberger has submitted an amendment that enacts what is known as the “Gang of Eight” bill into public law as soon as the first dollar is spent on a border wall.
“I believe in real solutions to challenges like immigration and a $20 billion boondoggle of a wall is not one of them. Neither is trying to deport 11 million-plus people,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “So if my colleagues insist on proceeding with the wall and I can’t stop them, then I insist that it is accompanied by measures that will actually make us safer.”
The Gang of Eight bill – S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act – passed the Senate on a supermajority vote in 2013, but House leadership refused to bring it to the floor for consideration. The bill included strong border security measures, as well as a sensible pathway to citizenship for law-abiding immigrants with stipulations that they learn English, stay employed, pass a criminal background check, pay back-taxes and a fine.
“The Gang of Eight bill included border security measures that would have actually worked – a 21st century ‘wall’ made of technology and manpower,” Ruppersberger said. “Their bill was both pro-growth and pro-law and order. Most importantly, it represented our American values.”
The House Rules Committee will consider Congressman Ruppersberger’s amendment today.
The Gang of Eight bill included funding for surveillance drones, 3,500 new customs agents and fencing. It required the Department of Homeland Security to achieve 100 percent surveillance of the southwestern border within five years of enactment. It also included:
- A requirement that U.S. companies implement e-Verify to ensure employers are not undercutting American workers.
- A merit-based visa system to recruit the best and the brightest into our country.
- Appropriate accommodations for those seeking asylum from gang violence and sex trafficking.