Nearly 50 North Carolina sheriffs have signed on to a law enforcement coalition letter in opposition to the Senate immigration bill, saying the legislation lacks the proper enforcement measures to keep Americans safe.
North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones agrees.
In an interview with The Daily Caller on Tuesday, Jones explained that he is opposed to the Senate’s immigration reform plan but touted the idea of taking on immigration reform in a piecemeal fashion, looking at it as a series of bills, something House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (whose committee oversees immigration matters), has spoken about doing.
“I’m opposed to this Senate immigration bill for two reasons. One, we are not securing the border and secondly, we are not, in my opinion, doing as good a job as we should do to round up those who are committing crimes and send them from prison home. I just think this bill in the Senate will create more problems than solutions,” Jones said.
According to Jones there can be no discussion about immigration reform or mass legalization of the undocumented immigrants in the country already until the immigration enforcement mechanisms are sound.
“We have 11 million people in this country illegally, but you cannot pass legislation to give those people a pathway to citizenship when you still have the borders not 100 percent secure. Now 100 percent is probably impossible, but at least 90 percent is possible,” he said. “So I just think the sheriffs are right, that the Senate should slow their bill down and break it into sections like Bob Goodlatte in the House is talking about and move the bill in steps.”
In a letter distributed to every member of Congress last month and signed by the union representing ICE agents, the union representing USCIS officers and sheriffs from across the country including many from North Carolina sheriffs, law enforcement officers wrote that the bill would make America less safe.
“We therefore conclude that this legislation fails to meet the needs of the law enforcement community and would, in fact, be a significant barrier to the creation of a safe and lawful system of immigration,” the letter read.
Jones said that he understands the frustration expressed in the law enforcement officials’ letter and that he agrees — noting that he was disturbed recently by General John F. Kelly, USMC, Commander of the U.S. Southern Command’s testimony before the House Arms Services Committee in which he explained the presence of Middle Eastern countries and actors as well as China’s increased role in the region south of the border.
Currently Jones is pushing legislation he introduced for the second time to require states and federal agencies to compile statistics on the immigration status of people convicted of a crime to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“We don’t have that kind of reporting system. You cannot go into law enforcement and say, ‘I would just like to see the names of those people in this country illegally who have committed a crime and been found guilty of a crime.’ There is no record that you can go to that specifically just speaks to this,” Jones said.