Up | February 02, 2013
>>> speaking at the state of the union but not really quite speaking. let me tell you what he said. he said, i believe as strongly as ever we should take on illegal immigration . that's why my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before, fewer illegal crossings since i took office. the points of action are out of excuses. we should be working on immigration reform now. this is this enforcement mentality. border security is a threshold issue. once you get that, then you can talk about everything else. that's what we've seen has been institutionalized in the senate program. i wonder what you think of that approach as someone who represents a state that is on the border .
>> the issue i have is what you just laid out and the president has talked about, which is we've gone from 10,000 to 20,000 border patrol agents. we have fewer individuals crossing the border illegally than we've had in some time, and we've invested over $17 billion in enforcement of the border , more than any other enforcement of any other thing in the country, including drugs, which begs the question, where is the war on drugs? and so as a law maker, as i look at this bill, once we concede in writing, i'm going to be asking those questions. who's benefitting from a policy like that? absolutely, we need to continue to strengthen our border . it's about having a process where individuals who are coming through the border legally can be safe. no woman should have to be raped by an illegal cartel in order to come to our country legally, and it's our job to make sure they are safe. so we have to make those investments in infrastructure, and that's another reason why we do have to continue the border security , but do it in a way that's smart and that ensures that people aren't profiting from these type of investments.
>> you think that's possible? ellis, you crossed the border before 9/11 and before the bonanza of border security . how did that experience shape your thinking on this?
>> let me just tell you, my experience with the immigration system goes back to the '40s and '50s. my father was an undocumented worker . he also came to work in the u.s. as a guest worker during the brasero program. and he told us about the abuses of both of these systems and how the human dignity gets sacrificed to this system. so this forms my opinion about why we need to change this system. and the problem that i have with the conversation with the border is that it really is not focusing on how we have a system that actually works. for example, 40% of the undocumented did not come through the border . they came through airplanes. they came student visas, and then they overstayed. so putting all this money and personnel on the border is not going to fix that part of the problem. secondly, it is focused on nannies, farm workers, factory workers, and not criminals. it's not focused on the people that aaron is talking about who are committing all of these crimes on the border . can you imagine, if we have a comprehensive solution that legalizes the people here, that makes -- has a process for future immigrants to come through a legal process , nrisking their lives through the border , then all of those boots on the ground , all of the 18 million, can focus on criminals, not legal