As thousands of people continue to illegally immigrate into the U.S. from the south, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that he believes the border is secure.
Reid spoke to reporters after the Senate Democrats’ weekly lunch, asserting that Congress shouldn’t be working on ways to deport the thousands of new immigrants more quickly or increase security along the border.
Instead, Reid wants lawmakers to approve the $3.7 billion requested by the Obama Administration to process the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minor illegal immigrants coming to the country from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
“The border is secure,” Reid said, adding that Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) talked to lawmakers about border areas in his State. “He’s a border state senator. He said he can say without any equivocation the border is secure.”
Reid said that legislative action is unneeded because the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 which is largely to blame for the crisis can be changed at the executive level to stem the tide of illegal immigration.
“My personal belief — there is the law that has created some of the controversy now, there’s enough leeway there [that] the executive branch of government doesn’t need new legislation,” he told reporters.
The lawmaker went on to blame Republicans in the House for the immigration crisis because they refused to move forward with the Senate’s immigration reform plan.
As for effort to quickly deport new illegal immigrants, Reid called a bipartisan proposal from Republican Senator John Cornyn and Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar, both from the border State of Texas, “too broad.”
“From all the reports I’ve gotten, the answer for me is no, I won’t support it,” he said.
“I believe our No. 1 concern should be this narrow issue of we take care of this situation we have on the border. As I’ve been told, the Cornyn-Cuellar legislation covers a lot of other issues other than the problem we’re having on the border,” he said.
The Cornyn-Cuellar legislation would simply amend the Wilberforce trafficking law to apply the same deportation standards used to deal with children from Mexico to unaccompanied minors from Central America. It would also require the government to beef up security at the border.