Tightening border security is still a sticking point for many Republicans on immigration. Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador is saying that is not enough.
The Idaho Republican’s comments come after a three-day tour of the border in Arizona and California. Labrador says he believes the drones, fences, boats and towers that he saw on his trip just aren’t enough to stem immigration.
“You see all the money we’re spending at the border, and the great job these men and women are doing,” he said according to the Idaho Statesman. “And they’re still not stopping all the people coming in. It actually emphasizes the point that I’ve been making: We still need to have really strong interior enforcement. We have to go beyond throwing resources at the border and think about what we do in the interior.”
Labrador said the trip convinced him more than ever that state and local police should work with the federal government on immigration enforcement.
“When I talked to these men and women, I asked them the same question: How would you feel if your local police departments and sheriff’s offices actually had the ability to help you with illegal immigration? They were all very positive about that idea,” he said. “There are only 5,000 ICE agents in the entire United States. They can’t deal with this issue themselves.”
“Republican Congressmen are slowly but surely backing a pathway to citizenship – not Rep. Labrador’s extreme political gimmick – for good reason: Citizenship is the only real solution that lives up to our country’s values. Mr. Labrador would do well to visit his own state’s immigrant communities, acknowledge their contributions to society and the economy, and join with his Republican colleagues supporting family unity through a pathway to citizenship,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of the key architects of the Senate reform bill, struck a conciliatory tone regarding the House and the path to some sort of legislation. Schumer said the House is going in the “right direction” and that he is on board with a piecemeal approach as long as it includes a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.