The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

July 3, 2014

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta travels to Texas, speaks out on immigration

McALLEN, TX — U.S. Congressman Lou Barletta lashed out at the federal government Thursday, accusing unnamed officials of “not telling Americans the full story behind the growing crisis of unaccompanied minors at the border.”

Barletta made the charges at a special field hearing of the House Homeland Security hearing near the U.S. border with Mexico.

Earlier in the day, Barletta and other members of Congress toured a facility housing the minors at a nearby border patrol station.

The first witness before the committee was Governor Rick Perry, who said he did not believe the federal government was being honest about how thoroughly authorities are examining the incoming minors.

“What are the health risks, in your opinion, to these children and to the community that they’re going to be sent to?” Barletta asked Perry.  “And do you know, are background checks being conducted, not only on the unaccompanied minors, but on the adults who will take custody of them?  Do we know if they’re predators, do we know anything about them?  If they’re gang members?  Anything about their background?”

“I think these are all very legitimate and appropriate questions for people in the other 49 states as well,” Perry said.  “I don’t think our government is being forthright, being transparent in the process that’s going on.  I think we’ve seen the reaction in Georgia, in California, in Pennsylvania, and I think you’re going to see that in a lot of places from across the country.”

“We’re either going to be a country that respects our rule of law, or we’re not.  We’re going to be a country that is going to secure its border, or we’re not,” Perry continued.  “And if we’re not going to be either one of those, then the federal government needs to stand up and say, ‘Here’s the way it’s going to be.’  And my instincts are that the American people are not going to be particularly happy about that.”

Barletta echoed the governor’s sentiments, and also reflected on the visit to the intake center earlier in the day at the McAllen, Texas Border Patrol Station.

“I agree with you.  The problem starts in Washington, and ends up on the border, and ends up across the country for everyone to try to deal with,” Barletta said.  “I saw the human side today.  These three beautiful little girls with their grandmother, who risked their lives to come here.  I saw that and it broke my heart.  But there’s also the realist in me who also saw others who could be here not for good reasons.  And that’s what I’m concerned about, because there will be innocent Americans every time who pay the price.

“What always stops me, when someone wants to talk about immigration reform, I always go to the background checks.  How do we find information?” Barletta asked.  “And if we don’t do the due diligence to make sure that we are not allowing people into this country who will harm Americans, which I believe is our first priority of government, which is to protect the American people, then we’re not doing our job.”

“That’s where it stops for me,” Barletta said.  “And I’m not convinced that we know enough about the children that are here.  I do believe that most are here because there’s somebody in the country here already illegally, which is caused by not enforcing our immigration laws.  We’ve created another crisis now with the children.”

 

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