Rep. Peters’ Statement on President’s Emergency Appropriations Request
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This evening, Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) released the following statement regarding President Obama’s emergency appropriations request:
“The country and our region have been deeply affected by the crisis at our border. It’s important to remember that the scope of this problem would have been lessened greatly had the House been given the chance to pass comprehensive immigration reform. But for the unwillingness of House leadership even to allow a vote, the bipartisan Senate compromise would be law today. It includes much tougher border security, which would have discouraged many from attempting to cross in the first place, and it includes funds for a much greater number of immigration judges so asylum seekers could be processed more quickly. It also provides clarity to our flawed immigration laws. It is the very lack of clarity in current law about who will and will not be granted Deferred Action that has brought many who are not qualified to arrive here with false hopes.
"Now that we are faced with this dramatic surge of men, women, and children seeking a better life we must tackle it head on, striking the right balance between humanity, compassion, and understanding, and maintaining the integrity of our nation’s laws.
“Upon first review, the President's proposed approach seems like the right one. I am not in a position to say today that the dollar amounts attached to each component are the right amounts; this will be determined through our legislative process. But the plan appropriately calls for assistance via the State Department to help support efforts in Central American countries to address the escalating violence and socio-economic conditions that are at the root cause of much of this migration. It would protect the dignity and well-being of those who have arrived in our country, while at the same time expediting the process to determine who qualifies to stay under asylum protections, and who does not. It just does not seem possible or reasonable for our region, or our nation, to absorb all of these newcomers all at this time, through this wave. And it is appropriate for the federal government, not states or localities, to bear the burden that’s resulted from the flaws in federal law.
“There is no blanket answer or approach, but we have an obligation to follow our laws and provide all with due process. The existing legal process will determine who qualifies for asylum and who is a true refugee. Others will not qualify and will be returned to their home country. And for all of the children who are unaccompanied, the most humane approach is to reunite them with their families. Congress should respond constructively to this short-term crisis and then turn to long-term, comprehensive reform of our broken immigration laws.”