The PJ Tatler

Texas Republican Forms Congressional Border Security Caucus

There’s a caucus for nearly every special interest in Congress, from the Montenegro Caucus to the Shellfish Caucus and the Unexploded Ordnance Caucus.

This morning, add a new one to the vast list.

Texas Republican Lamar Smith, former House Judiciary Committee chairman and current chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, has created the Border Security Caucus to pull together members who feel the border must be secured and interior enforcement increased.

“The Government Accountability Office has determined that only 129 miles of a 2000 mile long southern border is under ‘full control.’ That means that only 6.5% of the border is safe from drug smugglers and human traffickers,” Smith said in his announcement.

“Over 40% of those in the country illegally entered as tourists or business visitors and then overstayed their visas and failed to return home. An entry-exit system is needed to deter and detect those individuals,” he continued.  “Almost 12 million people reside in the United States illegally and over 7 million of them work illegally. This situation is costly to American taxpayers and harmful to American workers.”

“Unfortunately, President Obama has weakened immigration laws through executive orders and administrative actions.”

Smith already runs the Media Fairness Caucus, the purpose of which “is not to censor or condemn, but to encourage the media to adhere to the highest standards of reporting and provide the American people with the facts, balanced stories and fair coverage of the news.” Co-chairs are Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.).

“The Border Security Caucus will make border security and interior enforcement a top priority. And that is what the American people want,” Smith said. “A Bloomberg poll showed that 85% of voters want Congress to ‘strengthen border security and create a system to track foreigners entering and leaving the country’ before any other changes are made to our immigration system.”

Smith introduced a bill this Congress to scrap the paper-based I-9 system and establish an employment eligibility verification system patterned after E-Verify.