Tell me why they should get free anything?
June 30, 2016
Thank you for contacting me regarding immigration and border patrol. I appreciate hearing from you on this important topic.
I think we can all agree that the current immigration system is broken, and that as long as the system goes unfixed, Minnesota families, businesses, and communities will continue to suffer. We need comprehensive immigration reform that will secure our borders and implement effective enforcement while meeting the needs of industry and agriculture and providing a tough but fair pathway to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants currently living and working in this country.
In 2013, the Senate passed a strong, bipartisan bill that would have addressed many of the immigration issues we are dealing with today. And as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I had the opportunity to play a central role in crafting the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill. This bill provided a real and comprehensive overhaul of our broken immigration system. It would not only have helped Minnesota farmers and business owners access the workforce they need, but it would have greatly increased our investment in border security – doubling the number of full-time Border Patrol agents to over 38,000. This bill also would have provided additional immigration lawyers and judges to process cases, and I successfully offered an amendment to the bill that would have helped our justice system handle the cases of immigrant children at the border in a more efficient manner. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives never acted on the Senate bill.
While I remain hopeful that Congress will pass comprehensive reform, in the meantime, I have been working to resolve the immediate issues at the border. Earlier this Congress, I joined a group of senators in pressing the Department of Homeland Security about its policies regarding detained individuals and their right to counsel. The federal government continues to incarcerate mothers and children fleeing some of the most dangerous countries in the world, despite a federal court ruling finding that the government’s policy violates established standards for treatment and detention of immigrant children, many of whom are pursuing valid claims for asylum and other protection under U.S. law. Moreover, reports suggest that the Department of Homeland Security is interfering with the ability of mothers and children detained in these circumstances to access free, volunteer legal representation. Their ability to access free legal assistance as they make their way through our complex immigration detention and removal system is vital to making sure we treat them fairly.
Please be assured that as legislation regarding immigration and border patrol come before the Senate, I will keep your thoughts in mind. Thank you again for contacting me about this issue, and please don’t hesitate to do so in the future regarding this or any other matter of concern to you.
United States Senator