Last month, the state of Arizona passed a new, sweeping immigration reform law, which immediately received national attention due to its stringency. The new law would, among other things, allow local law enforcement officials to enforce existing federal laws regarding the verification of a person’s immigration status, given there is reasonable cause to do so. Supporters of the law argue that the federal government was not doing its job to enforce the current illegal immigration laws and secure our nation’s borders. Opponents of the new law claim that only the federal government has jurisdiction over immigration laws, and numerous law suits have already been filed against the state of Arizona.
It is unclear whether Congress will consider a comprehensive immigration reform bill this year. As a Member of the House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee, I recognize that this problem continues to plague our nation and it must be taken seriously and addressed. It is important that we ensure our border patrol and local law enforcement have the resources and tools necessary to secure our borders and adequately enforce our existing immigration laws.