As a Congressman representing the state of Arizona, I am never surprised that illegal immigration is the hottest topic of discussion at my town halls meetings. With over 350 miles of shared border with Mexico, Arizona is second only to Texas in total miles of border separating us from our southern neighbor. Yet the people in my district who most adamantly call for stronger enforcement of our immigration laws may be surprising to some. It’s not those gun-totin,’ bible-clingin’ Republicans that President Obama likes to mock. In fact, the strongest supporters of upholding our immigration laws…are LEGAL immigrants.
It is rare for me to host a public event anymore and not talk to a legal immigrant about their inspiring story of becoming an American. At the core of their decision to immigrate legally to the United States is the understanding that our country is a nation of laws, and that no one—not even the President of the United States—can circumvent the law. Our Founding Fathers knew that this was the key to empowering the pursuit of prosperity.
So imagine the frustration of legal immigrants when President Obama unilaterally normalized relations with Cuba last year but refused to end provisions from the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act which grant instant amnesty to Cubans who set foot on American soil. This is a luxury no other country in the world enjoys, so it’s fair to ask, why would we still treat immigrants from that nation any different than those from other countries? Despite President Obama’s continued ideological efforts to erode American sovereignty, he can’t have it both ways… and he knows it. That is why I introduced legislation (H.R. 3818) to terminate three outdated policies that directly provide amnesty to Cuban aliens and cost taxpayers billions of dollars annually.
Last October, the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel published a series of investigative articlesexposing billions of dollars of waste at the expense of U.S. taxpayers as a result of Cuban immigration fraud. According to their yearlong research, “taxpayers spend more than $680 million per year on welfare to Cuban immigrants, not counting the cost of Medicaid health care benefits.”
Perhaps the most disturbing part of this flawed immigration policy is that Cuba does not allow Cuban citizens convicted of crimes in the U.S. to be repatriated. The Sun-Sentinel reportedthat “Cubans are allowed to enter the United States without visas or background checks of their criminal histories in Cuba. Unlike other immigrants seeking political asylum, Cubans can return home without jeopardizing their status, aiding crime rings that recruit accomplices and hide stolen money in Cuba.” I dare President Obama to face hard-working legal immigrants who followed the rules and patiently immigrated to this country and try to rationalize this injustice.
The unthinkable consequence of the Obama Administration’s lawlessness is that, over time, hardworking legal immigrants will find somewhere else besides the United States to call home. And they won’t be alone. They will take their businesses and good-paying jobs with them. Who could blame them? If the legal foundations of our country are no longer upheld we risk undermining the very soul of the land of the free.
Congress should consider my commonsense legislation, which will level the playing field and end the outdated policies that provide amnesty to Cuban aliens and criminals. Cuban nationals should be treated under the same immigration rules as any other person seeking to immigrate to the United States and should not receive preferential treatment. The American people deserve better from our federal government… especially Americans who migrated here legally.
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