Feb 22 2007

Shelby speaks on issues

Cullman Times

By Nancy Glasscock

More than 12 million illegal immigrants have crossed the United States border, and more will continue to cross unless immigration laws are enforced, Sen. Richard Shelby said Wednesday.

Alabama’s senior senator spoke at the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce Boardroom on illegal immigration and the war in Iraq. He said he does not support amnesty for illegal immigrants, and expects immigration reform to gain approval.

“I say, let’s enforce the law, or do away with it, because nobody else is paying any attention to it,” he said.

Until the 1960s, U.S. immigration laws were more strictly enforced, Shelby said. The senator said that changed when U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson led the way in relaxing immigration laws.

Shelby said he supports an addition of more than 20,000 troops in Iraq, and would support a surge of many more. He recently opposed a move to stop troop surges in Iraq, and said failing to support the military could have dire consequences.

“That’s my position, and that’s what it’s going to be in the months ahead,” he said... There are going to be a lot of battles in the future because we don’t live in an easy world. We’re going to need our service people.”

Wallace State Community College President Vicki Hawsey asked Shelby to prioritize assistance for community colleges. Wallace State is the third-largest college in Alabama, and trains workers for plants like Topre America and Rehau, she said.

Shelby responded by saying he doesn’t want to spread money too thin.

“I can’t do everything as one U.S. senator,” he said. “I’ve been in a position to help our big schools and big universities, and I have obligations I haven’t finished. If I do that, I will look at other options.”

Shelby said he has traveled around the state since January, making stops to discuss national and state issues.