The PJ Tatler

Dem Dissension Grows: Arizona Border Lawmaker Says Obama Not Doing Enough

A Democrat with a district along the Mexico border said President Obama is not doing enough to secure the region and his constituents.

Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), a member of the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats, stressed to CNN that “this problem has been going on for a long time.”

“And now it’s been exaggerated by this humanitarian crisis that we have with thousands of children coming into Texas and into my state in Arizona,” Barber said. “I’ve been pressing for changes in our border security strategy and policy, and for us to fix the broken immigration system. As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, I’m very pleased that we have a very strong bipartisan effort there. But it needs to come to the floor. We need a bill that will help with increased border security, and we need to fix the broken immigration system. Both of those actions have not been done, and it’s a failure of both the presidency and Washington to not deal with a problem that’s been going on way too long.”

Barber, who used to district director for Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) and won her seat after she retired, represents a district spanning 83 miles of the restive border.

“The people that I represent who live and work along the border, the ranchers, the businesspeople, folks who have retired and are living down there every single day, they feel unsafe in their homes because the drug cartels are coming through their land, bringing drugs, heavily armed and putting our constituents in danger. We need to stop that,” he said.

“And one of the things we need to do is to have more troops, more Border Patrol agents on the border, more technology on the border. I’ve been pressing for that since I got here. And hopefully, now — unfortunately now, because of this crisis, we’re finally getting the attention of Washington and the White House.”

Barber also said the 2008 law providing extended immigration proceedings for illegal immigrants from countries other than Mexico and Canada “needs to be modified.”

“We need to modify the law so that these children who are coming here from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are able to be returned home expeditiously. Their parents need to have them back with them because these children are facing danger when they come across Mexico on the top of freight trains,” he said. “They’re in a situation here in Arizona that’s creating immense pressures on my community and the people that I serve. We need to be able to get them back home. And that law is unfortunately standing in the way.”