Politics
Maria Fernanda Medina, 7, wraps herself in a United States flag as she marches with her father, Jorge, during a May Day demonstration in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 1, 2013.  Demonstrators demanded an overhaul of immigration laws Wednesday in an annual, nationwide ritual that carried a special sense of urgency as Congress considers sweeping legislation that would bring many of the estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally out of the shadows. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Law enforcement officials: Senate bill ‘significant barrier’ to ‘a safe and lawful system of immigration’

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

A group of current and former law enforcement officers is warning lawmakers that the Gang of Eight’s immigration-reform bill would be a “significant barrier” to a safe, legal immigration system.

In a letter obtained by The Daily Caller that will be sent to every member of Congress on Thursday, the law-enforcement officers and veterans rebuke the immigration enforcement measures laid out in the proposed legislation S. 744, titled the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.”

Thirty sheriffs, many from North Carolina and Pennsylvania, signed the letter. Among the signatories were Arizona’s Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, a friend of “gang” member Arizona Sen. John McCain, ICE union president Chris Crane, and the chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBO), Zach Taylor.

The letter contends that the legislation would create a more dangerous immigration system.

“Driven by mere speculation that S. 744 may be enacted by Congress, illegal border crossings have spiked dramatically. Thousands of unaccompanied children, runaways, and families now attempt to illegally enter the United States in hopes of receiving legalization. This trend will surely continue after enactment as S. 744 provides no commitment of stronger border enforcement for at least five to ten years following the initial legalization phase,” the authors wrote, adding that immigrants attempting to cross the border can be victimized and even killed.

They added that the “cut-off dates” in the legislation will not mean much to individuals in foreign nations who are not fully informed of the bill and it will act as a magnet for more illegal immigration.

The letter further delves into the problems law enforcement has with the border security mechanisms laid out in the bill — asserting that the legislation makes “no guarantee of increased border security,” noting that the Department of Homeland Security will be tasked with the establishing a border security plan and then measure its effectiveness.

“Clearly recognizing the high probability that this approach will fail and DHS will not develop a successful border security plan, S. 744 establishes a commission to review security at the border five years after the plan has been implemented (if the Secretary decides such a commission is needed),” the letter reads. “But the powerless commission will have only the authority to make recommendations on how to achieve border security. Those recommendations may very well be ignored by DHS.”