Hatch: Time to enforce illegal immigration laws

As I have traveled Utah and met with constituents in every corner, one concern has been expressed over and over again – America’s immigration system is broken and needs reform.  So many Utahns are not only concerned, but very frustrated by the federal government’s inability to do anything about immigration.
I share these concerns and have been looking for solutions to address some of the problems in combating illegal immigration and securing our nation’s borders.
 I continue to work with and support my colleagues whose states are located along the Southwest border.  While Utah is not a border state, we still share the same concerns of our neighbors along the border.  Utah’s problems result from a residual effect of a porous border and a breakdown of our immigration enforcement system.

I have been saying for years that it is time to get serious about tackling our immigration problems. Unfortunately, the current Administration continues to explore ways to exploit current law and score political points.
Throughout my service, I have anguished with Utahns on how to best address the considerable strain the illegal alien population is having on Utahns.  Among other things, I have taken the initiative to increase immigration enforcement in Utah by bringing ICE Quick Response Teams to our state, creating an immigration court, and establishing an ICE Field Office Director position to address Utah’s immigration concerns.  I also brought the 287 (g) cross-deputizing program and just recently the Secure Communities program to Utah which helps identify those who have committed a crime who are illegal aliens.
Yet there is no question that more needs to be done.  I believe an important first step in the war on illegal immigration is to start with the laws that already exist.  That is why I introduced before Congress recessed the “Strengthening our Commitment to Legal Immigration and America’s Security Act,” which would enhance our core immigration and enforcement laws for both legal and illegal immigrants.
This bill:
·         Curbs identity theft
·         Stops the abuse of this administration from granting mass parole or deferral to illegal aliens
·         Helps prevent Mexican drug cartels from growing marijuana on public lands and national parks
·         Requires law enforcement agencies already enrolled in the 287(g) and Secure Communities program to actually use the programs to detain and deport criminal aliens.
·         Provides an accurate accounting to track the flow of welfare dollars given to illegal aliens
·         Makes any alien who is a member of an organized crime group or gang ineligible for a visa.
This legislation provides key common-sense solutions to strengthen our commitment to legal immigration and America’s security.  I will do everything in my power to ensure that problems with our immigration system are addressed and fixed.   I believe this is an important step forward, and you have my commitment that I will continue to look for solutions to address some of the problems our state and nation face in combating illegal immigration and securing our nation’s borders.

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