RAOPS: Congressman Chet Edwards
Representing Texas??™ 17th district is Congressman Chet Edwards who is also a senior member on both the Appropriations and House Budget Committees. (1). Congressman Edwards is known and respected greatly as a national champion for Americas veterans, troops, and their families (2). Congressman Edwards has authored a $17.7 billion increase in funding for veterans benefits and health care since he became Chairman of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee in 2007 (1). In 2007, Chet was awarded with the Disabled American Veterans ???Going to Bat for Veterans??? award in 2007 and in 2005 he received the Military Order of the Purple Heart??™s ???Inspirational Leadership??? award (2). As the only Texan on the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, Chet oversees key homeland defense and university research programs as well as serving on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee (1). Congressman Edwards has focused on a number of important issues such as agriculture, national defense, education, veterans and tax relief (3).???The most basic obligation of any government is to secure the Nations borders??? (3).While others have talked about securing our borders, Chet Edwards is one of the few who have actually taken action. Edwards??™ Border Security and Immigration Reform aims to secure our land and sea borders as well as protecting our homeland (1). An additional 6,700 border patrol agents funded by Congressman Edwards??™ brings the total of current border patrol agents upwards of 20,000 (2). Chet secured $16 million for Wacos L-3 to build P-3 aircraft, a surveillance tool used for catching drug smugglers as well as stopping illegal immigration (3).Chet has also voted ???yes??? to building a fence over 700 miles of two-layered reinforced fencing, and a virtual fence for the rest of the border, (via integrated surveillance technology) are what are provided in the current legislation (3). In an issue of the Houston Chronicle regarding illegal immigration, Edwards??™ is quoted as saying, ???I do not support amnesty for illegal immigrants but am open to considering the idea of ???earned citizenship??™ along with a limited guest worker program if certain conditions could be met, such as some type of fine or conditions placed on those who entered illegally and documenting that the guest worker jobs could not be filled by American citizens??? (4). Under Congressman Edwards??™ Border and Security Immigration Reform plan illegal immigrants would be eligible to apply for legal permanent residence only if they can pass a criminal background check, learn English and take civic classes, pay taxes, fines and back taxes, maintain a suitable job, and Get in line behind those who came here legally and are applying for legal permanent residence (1). Currently employers are not required to verify that an applicant or employee is legally allowed to work in this country. Congressman Edwards??™ reform would make it mandatory requirement that employers verify their employee??™s legality (4).
My opinion is that Chets??™ reform was a positive step in the right direction of protecting our borders and reducing illegal immigration. I would say it somewhat provides the framework for the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill that President Obama hopes will be drafted by the end of this year (5). If we can create a system where the border security is strong, and where there is an orderly process for people to come in, that would be ideal. I think it would be a good thing that we would be giving those who are here in the United States already an opportunity for citizenship.
Unfortunately, even having this reform which would legally allow people to cross the borders if they went through the legal process, would not stop illegal immigration. Without a wall, illegal??™s are going to continue to cross our borders, and even with the proposed wall, any individual who is really determined to cross the borders will find a way. I believe that in order for the immigration reform to be truly successful, I believe that the border patrol security needs to be greatly improved. If the reform is going to make it possible for immigrants to go through a process that legally allows them to cross our borders, there should be no excuse for poor security. I also am going to agree with Congressman Edwards on the fact that it should be mandatory that every employer verifies that their employees are legally allowed to work in the United States. Every illegal already in the United States should have to pass a background check, as well as meet a certain criteria in order to be allowed to continue to reside in the U.S. Those that do have a criminal history should not be allow to continue in the United States and sent back across the border, and those that commit crimes or do not pay their taxes after being allowed to stay, should have to face the same repercussions that Americans have to.
RAOPS: Congressman Chet Edwards