Every day, Congress has the opportunity to address pressing issues that will positively impact the American people. Unfortunately, Democratic leadership has spent recent weeks moving key components of their liberal wish list through Congress - including bills promoting gun control and amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Unfortunately, there couldn’t be a worse time for an agenda that promotes illegal immigration.
Currently, our border is under siege by a dramatic rise in illegal border crossings. This comes after President Biden has repeatedly patted himself on the back for scaling back President Trump’s successful policies to reduce illegal immigration.
We have seen the results of this misguided approach; illegal border crossings were up 28% from January to February, and arrests by U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement were down 62% in the same time period. The facts are clear: this is a border crisis of President Biden’s making.
Given this fact, it’s troubling that President Biden is continuing to weaken border security while working with his allies on Capitol Hill to grant amnesty. When a record number of migrants are crossing our border, we should not be passing bills that create new incentives for illegal immigration. I voted no on these bills brought to the House floor by Nancy Pelosi, which would only make a bad situation worse.
Likewise, there is never a good time to create new barriers to law-abiding Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights. The right to keep and bear arms is a constitutional principle that must be protected, not assaulted by politicians seeking to infringe on the personal liberties of American citizens. Given my strong support of the Second Amendment, I voted no last week on bills which would criminalize private gun transfers, delay firearm sales, and move toward creating a national gun registry.
By their very nature, criminals don’t follow laws. Making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to purchase firearms would violate the Constitution while proving ineffective at keeping firearms out of the hands of those intent on causing harm to others.
While pro-illegal immigration and gun control bills did recently pass the U.S. House of Representatives, these bills face a much tougher path forward in the Senate. Even with the support of President Biden, some Democratic Senators remain reluctant to go against the wishes of the American people in pursuing such a radical agenda.
Not all bad news has come out of Washington in recent weeks. I was thrilled to see Congress pass legislation I sponsored which will strengthen federal efforts to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect in the United States. The Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) helps address the growing epidemic of child abuse by providing states and families with increased resources and prevention-based services. The bill also streamlines duplicate administrative requirements on state and local providers, enabling them to better serve children and families.
As the lead Republican sponsor of this measure, I was happy to work in a bipartisan manner with my colleagues on the Education and Labor Committee to help protect some of the most vulnerable members of our society. I am optimistic about the bill’s chances of passing the Senate and being signed into law in 2021.
In future weeks and months, I hope to see Congress embrace more bipartisanship like we saw with the passage of CAPTA and focus less on adding to the mounting problems with our nation’s immigration system. We can start by working together to defeat COVID-19 and reopen our economy, get our schools fully operating, and ensure that all Americans who want the vaccine have access to it.
Rep. James Comer is a United States Congressman for the 1st Congressional District, which spans from south central Kentucky to the river counties of far western Kentucky. He serves as the Republican Leader for the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Contact him with any questions or concerns in his Washington D.C. office at (202) 225-3115, in the Tompkinsville Office at (270) 487-9509, in the Paducah Office at (270) 408-1865, or schedule an appointment in the Madisonville Office by calling (270) 487-9509.