U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) divides our Southern border into nine distinct sectors across the four states that border Mexico by land: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Last Saturday, I returned to Wisconsin after visiting our Southern border in the Tucson Sector of Arizona for two days. This was my first trip to our Southern border this year, but I have been several times in the past. I was able to talk to CBP agents and local law enforcement on the ground, whose insight and firsthand experience at the border is invaluable. I was also able to see the border wall system, including the parts that are not yet finished. We call it the border wall system because it is not just a wall, it is also equipped with sensors, cameras and other technology that assists our agent in their job.
The Tucson sector is one of the busiest sectors in the country in terms of illegal immigrant apprehensions and marijuana seizures. In 2006, 33 years into his U.S. Senate career, then-Senator Joe Biden said a fence was needed at our Southern border to stop "tons" of drugs from Mexico. President Trump improved upon this idea and built a border wall system. We still have drugs, arms and immigrants coming illegally into our country from Mexico, so why has now-President Biden changed his mind about securing our border? His ideas are antithetical to the real-world operations at our border and the needs of the agents patrolling it. I will not stop fighting for a secure border and hope that President Biden will realize that the actual situation at our Southern border is vastly different from the reports laid on his desk by Washington bureaucrats.
Nonetheless, the recent sweeping changes out of the Biden White House have made our border less safe. The President has, in his first two weeks on the job, ended construction of the border wall system, ended the Migrant Protection Protocols and has begun a crusade to pause Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation of illegal immigrants who already have criminal convictions. I oppose all of these ideas, not because of partisan politics, but because they go against what every CBP agent, ICE agent and local law enforcement officer I speak with at the border tells me is helpful to them. I summed up some of my most recent findings from this trip in this video from a section of the wall that will, for now, remain incomplete.
Speaking of immigration, this week, I introduced a bill that will require an individual to be a U.S. citizen in order to receive welfare benefits, such as Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps. According to data from the Census Bureau, it is estimated that my legislation would save taxpayers $60 billion in its first year.
This bill will help to encourage more hard-working immigrants to come to America, while discouraging those who only seek to come here to take advantage of our welfare state. A study published in 2015 shows that both legal and illegal immigrant households take advantage of the welfare system far more than native-born households. Moreover, Politifact confirms that half of immigrant families receive some form of welfare.
In general, the welfare system in America started with good intentions, but it is in need of a major overhaul. We need to clean it up so those who really do need help get it, but those who are able to work are encouraged to. America is a beacon of prosperity throughout the world not because of our generous welfare system, but by how many jobs we provide for those looking for a better life for their family and themselves.
Many of President Biden's unilateral, partisan executive actions have made our borders less safe. He has also promoted amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants, many of whom would use their new legal status to apply for additional welfare benefits. Now that we have a President whose priorities do not lie with the safety and security of our Southern border, we must ensure America’s welfare safety net does not become a magnet for illegal immigration. I want to give every immigrant a hand-up instead of a hand-out so they too can share the dignity that comes with an honest day’s work, just like my ancestors had when they came to this country.
National Apprenticeship Act
In November, the House passed the National Apprenticeship Act. Since the bill was passed in the 116th Congress and was not signed into law, it had to be re-introduced to the 117th Congress.
On Friday, we voted on this bill. I again voted no because the bill was not substantially changed and it will not go far enough to help Wisconsin workers. While there were some good provisions in this bill and the name sounds nice, this bill is inadequate for workers and businesses because it recognizes certain apprenticeships and not others. In particular, many apprenticeships used by the construction industry were intentionally left out by the bill's authors. It is not the job of Congress to pick winners and losers, which is what this bill would do.
What Congressional leaders, like Speaker Pelosi, need to do is return to regular order and allow we members of the Committee on Education and Labor to hold hearings on the best ways to expand apprenticeships nationwide. The bill that passed today did not have any hearings and was not "marked up" in committee, which means our input as a Committee was denied, which should draw the ire of Republicans and Democrats alike.
The only formal public discussion on this bill was the mandatory debate held on the House floor on Friday, just hours before it was passed. You can watch my speech clicking here or on the picture below.
I joined this letter because President Biden is making our border less safe with his executive actions and we members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee need to know what conversations he had with cabinet officials before his decision to halt construction of the border wall system.
Click above to view the full letter
Click above to view the full letter
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Click above for more information
I was glad to have a virtual meeting with the Wisconsin Bankers Association to discuss the Paycheck Protection Program and what Congress can do to further help local communities and the banks that serve them.
As your Congressman, I’m here to serve you. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to my offices in Fond du Lac and Washington. If you enjoyed this newsletter be sure to forward it to your family and friends so they can stay informed on what I’m doing in Washington and the Sixth District.
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