Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) said America’s immigration system has to be reformed but offering amnesty to illegal immigrants is “a slap in the face” to those who became U.S. citizens legally.
“Legal immigrants take 12 to 15 years and sometimes up to $15,000 in legal fees to migrate, immigrate, to this nation; that’s a problem. It needs to be reformed,” Loudermilk said on a panel with other freshman members of Congress at the Heritage Foundation’s Policy Summit.
Loudermilk, who replaced former Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), said he recently met a man from Ecuador who is working as an engineer in the U.S.
“He’s a legal immigrant. It took him 12 years to legally come to this country. He sat across from me and said, ‘I’ve supported you but if you let the folks that came here illegally stay after what I had to go through, I’ll never support you again,’” Loudermilk recalled.
“We have to be very careful in the way we message this because we are going to be seeking immigration reform, but it’s not the reform that they’re [Democrats] talking about. It’s the rule of law. It’s getting back. It’s simplifying it. It’s taking the red tape out of it. It’s making it work the way it was intended to work in the nation. But, you’re right, giving amnesty is a slap in the face to those who have done it properly.”
Loudermilk also said America has to seal its borders.
“It always amazes me – when I was in the state legislature – we’re so reactive. We always want to start a new law instead of enforcing the laws we have on the books so let’s secure the border. Let’s enforce the laws we have on the books,” he said.
“Let’s streamline the legal immigration system and have a work visa program that allows those that do need to come into the nation to work, we know where they are, we can track them and we know when they’re supposed to go back.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called on congressional Republicans to follow through on their campaign promises to stop President Obama’s executive action, which offers legalization to more than 5 million undocumented immigrants, and fight to repeal Obamacare. Cruz said Obamacare was the issue Republican candidates mentioned most frequently in the 2014 election cycle, followed by amnesty.
“That was just over 2 months ago and yet now when the topics come up, at times you hear crickets chirping. It ain’t complicated. We need to do what we said we would do,” Cruz said.
A coalition of 25 states sued the federal government, alleging that Obama’s executive action will cost states more than $60 billion. In response, a group of 12 states have joined together to defend Obama’s action.
Although the Republican Congress will not be able to override a presidential veto, Cruz said Congress should pass legislation addressing specific parts of Obamacare.
“Congress should take up and using every procedural tool available, including reconciliation, repeal Obamacare with 51 votes in the Senate,” he said. “The president is very likely to veto that and for the next two years we’re not going to have the votes to override that veto. What we then need to do is systemically begin teeing up legislation after legislation addressing the most harmful consequences of Obamacare, providing real relief to the millions of people who are hurting.”
Cruz recommended passing a bill dealing with the 6 million people that had their health insurance plans canceled due to Obamacare’s requirements.
“We need to address the pain the federal government has caused to them,” he said.