Jul 11 2014

Shelby Criticizes Administration's Failure to Enforce Immigration Laws

I personally have no confidence that pouring billions of dollars into our current immigration system will solve this crisis.

WASHINGTON, DC, Thursday, July 10, 2014 – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today during a full committee hearing to review the President’s emergency supplemental request strongly criticized the Obama Administration’s failure to enforce our nation’s immigration laws.  Shelby highlighted his concerns with the President’s request and indicated that he has no confidence that it would solve the current border crisis.

The full text of Shelby’s remarks in today’s hearing is below:

Thank you, Madam Chairwoman.  At this time, I would like to request that my full statement be inserted into the record.

Why are we here today?  We are here because our nation’s immigration system is broken. 

We are here because the Obama Administration, as well as previous administrations, has failed to secure our border and has ignored our existing immigration laws.

Over the years, we have spent billions of dollars on immigration “enforcement,” but to no avail.  Currently, we have millions of illegal immigrants in our nation.

The result of President Obama’s failure to enforce the immigration laws currently on the books has been predictable – and that is one of the reasons that we are here this afternoon. 

Now, we are being asked by President Obama to approve a $3.7 billion request to resolve the current crisis at our border.

There are several questions that I believe need to be answered.  What exactly is the $3.7 billion going to address?  Will this request be the end?  Or will it be the beginning of many new requests by the Administration for “emergency” funding?

While the President is seeking billions for the admission, detention, and care of illegal children and adults, only $45.4 million is requested for the Department of Justice’s adjudication and immigration proceedings.  This fact is very troubling to me.

Estimates suggest that the expense for HHS is more than $15,000 for every minor in U.S. custody.  For HHS, alone, the President requests an additional $1.8 billion, with no firm policy to stem the influx and no way to pay for it.

I personally have no confidence that pouring billions of dollars into our current immigration system will solve this crisis.  I think we have to get serious about enforcing our current laws and protecting our border if we are ever to get different results.  

In 2011, HHS took custody of 6,560 unaccompanied children coming to this country illegally.  Today, that number has skyrocketed.  Indeed, since last October, roughly 52,000 unaccompanied children have illegally entered the United States.  Customs and Border Protection estimates that as many as 150,000 children may attempt to cross the border in 2015.

If we continue to double down on the same failed immigration policies, where does that take us in 2016, 2017, and beyond?

I look forward to working with the Committee to ensure that we do not reward illegal immigration.  I believe that we must start with actually securing our border, enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, and definitively saying “no” to people who come here illegally.

Thank you.