Wagner Votes For Trump Immigration Priorities & To Keep Families Together At The Border
WASHINGTON - Congresswoman Ann Wagner (MO-02) released the following statement after voting in support of H.R. 6136, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act:
“Today, I voted for the ONLY bill that would have ensured funding for border security and a wall along the southern border. It would have fixed our outdated immigration system, provided a legal solution for DACA children, and guaranteed that families are kept together while being processed at the border. America is a compassionate nation, but also one that understands and respects the rule of law. We can find solutions for DACA recipients who were brought to this nation at a young age by their parents and know no other home, while at the same time strengthening our borders to stop the scourge of human trafficking, end illegal immigration, and stem the tide of drugs pouring into our country.
“A modernized immigration system will make America safer and strengthen our economy. The United States was founded on the hopes and dreams of immigrants, and today’s legislation would have preserved that legacy and upheld the rule of law. Unfortunately, Democrats and members of my own party failed to deliver that security and modernization to the American people, and failed to provide a solution for the illegal immigrant families who are being forcibly separated at the border by outdated judicial agreements. Doing nothing is not a solution, and today’s result is a disappointment for everyone who wants to protect families, enforce the border, build the wall, and reform our legal immigration system.”
BACKGROUND ON KEY ISSUES ADDRESSED IN THE BORDER SECURITY AND IMMIGRATION REFORM ACT:
Secures the Border: The bill provides nearly $25 billion in advance appropriations to build a wall along the southern border and improve border technology. It also combats visa overstays by deploying a biometric entry-exit program so that we know whether or not those on temporary visas leave the U.S. when their visas expire.
Prevents Illegal Immigration: The bill ends “catch and release,” increases the standard for credible fear to root out fraudulent claims, ensures unaccompanied alien children are returned safely and quickly to their home country, and provides the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the ability to detain dangerous criminal aliens.
Modernizes Our Immigration System: The bill ends the visa lottery, protects the nuclear family while reducing chain migration, reduces overall immigration numbers over the long term, and begins a shift to a merit-based system. It also shifts to a first-in-line visa system by eliminating the per-country cap on employment-based green cards and by increasing the cap on family-sponsored green cards from 7 to 15%.
Provides a Legislative Solution for DACA: The legislation allows the DACA population – children who came to the U.S. as minors and grew up here – an opportunity to earn a legal status. If these individuals meet certain requirements, they will be eligible for a 6-year renewable legal status, allowing them to work here and travel abroad. Once they receive that status, they can use existing paths available to attempt to earn green cards, including through a new merit-based program that allows them (and others brought to the U.S. while children by their parents on H-1B and other visas) to earn green cards through achieving educational degrees, English proficiency, vocational training and skills, work experience, and military service. The bill requires the border wall to be funded before new visas are available under the new merit-based program.
Keeps Families Together: The legislation fixes a court decision, the Flores settlement, to ensure that children who are apprehended at the border with their parents are not separated from their parent or legal guardian while in DHS custody. It also addresses family separation in light of the Zero Tolerance prosecution initiative by mandating that DHS, not the Department of Justice, maintain the custody of aliens charged with illegal entry along with their children. The bill allocates funding for family detention space to facilitate this requirement. To enhance the safety of children, the bill prohibits releasing a child to any individual other than a parent or legal guardian.