West Virginia 3rd District Congressman Nick Rahall is taking a careful look at proposals in Washington which address the growing problem of illegal immigration in the United States.
President Obama recently spoke about his plan toward addressing the problem. A bi-partisan coalition in the Senate is pushing a similar idea, but is yet to introduce it as a bill.
“It appears to be a proposal only and not anything written in legislative language,” said Rahall. “This proposal, the core of which coupled with the Obama proposal, appears to smack in some ways of amnesty, which I oppose.”
Rahall has long fought amnesty as a solution. He says it’s unfair to reward millions of illegal aliens now in the U.S. for breaking the law. He fears the measure puts them at the front of the line for citizenship status, all of the programs enjoyed by Americans, and threatens American jobs. Rahall calls the jobs threat the most critical element of amnesty.
“What I do not want to see is a reward for illegal behavior,” said Rahall. “I do not want to see more illegal immigration in the future.”
Rahall says legislation in 1986 was supposed to stem the tide of illegals coming across the border and just the opposite happened. He says border security has improved under President Obama and the nation is doing a better job, but hasn’t reached the level it needs to be to have the proper security.
“Number one here, we have to secure the borders lets not forget that above all else,” he said. “And we have to enforce existing law upon our employers.”
Rahall realizes the difficulty of the situation. He said you cannot expect to deport 11-million people and you can’t put them in jail. Therefore, he acknowledges something needs to be done. He advocates a “path to citizenship” which places those now in the country illegally in line with so many others who are here. If a bill truly presents the path to citizenship, forces immigrants to abide by the rules, and secures the borders he might consider supporting the legislation.
Rahall, whose grandparents immigrated to the United States from Lebanon, isn’t opposed to immigration, but he said it needs to be done in the proper manner and according to a rigid set of rules.
“Past generations including my forefathers obeyed the law,” said Rahall. “They abided by our immigration rules.”