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Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., is slamming the Obama administration for refusing to enforce federal immigration laws, saying the U.S. is already at the tipping point of disaster from failing to secure its borders and warning that any special refugee status for illegal entrants will result in a fierce response from Congress.
On Thursday, McClintock took to the House floor and delivered a blistering attack on the Obama administration for what he said was its deliberate neglect of its duty to protect U.S. borders.
“If we are not willing to enforce our current laws, there is no reason to believe that any future laws will be enforced. And until we enforce them, we really can’t accurately assess what changes may be needed,” McClintock said in his floor speech.
In a follow-up interview, McClintock said Obama is abdicating what should be his top priority.
“Border security is the single most important responsibility of the federal government. If it cannot discharge that responsibility, all of its others become meaningless,” he said. “They have completely abandoned the responsibility the federal government has to defend our borders. As the chief executive, the president is responsible for that. He is required to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. He’s done exactly the opposite.”
In his House speech, McClintock also warned that history is littered with nations that failed to protect themselves.
“History is shouting its warning at us: Nations that either cannot or will not defend their borders aren’t around very long,” he said Thursday.
McClintock elaborated on that statement later, saying the U.S. is perilously close to becoming one of those nations.
“I think we’re at the tipping point right now,” he said. “A majority of Americans have awakened to the fact that we face an unprecedented crisis on our southern border. For the first time in American history, that border, as a practical matter, is completely undefended and wide open and is being crossed by thousands and thousands of illegal immigrants.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif.:
The congressman said the entire border crisis would have been avoided if the Obama administration simply enforced existing laws, or even just some of them.
"What we really need to do is enforce is enforce the existing immigration law, which provides for serious sanctions against employers who hire illegal immigrants and completion of the border fence. Also, we've got to deport illegal immigrants who come into contact with law enforcement or who apply illegally for government assistance. Current law provides for their deportation. If we are not willing to deport such illegal immigrants, then our immigration laws become meaningless," McClintock said.
On Friday, the White House announced it was considering granting special refugee status to minors in Honduras because of the country's high crime rate. No decision has been made, but McClintock is outraged at the mere mention of such a policy.
"Think about what they're actually saying. They're saying, 'This wave of illegal immigration is not arriving here fast enough so we want to fly them to America.' That's what they're saying," said McClintock, noting that such an approach to refugees would quickly lead to a very slippery slope.
"If they're conferred refugee status for simply fearing violence, that makes eligible every person in every part of the world, including the south side of Chicago and most parts of Detroit," he said. "Refugee status, by the way, entitles them to welfare benefits and legal residency."
McClintock added, "Hopefully, (Congress) won't have to address that. If we do, I believe that Congress would have no choice but to exercise the full power of the purse and seriously consider other options."
As for the current border emergency, McClintock believes House Republicans are largely in lockstep on what needs to happen next.
"We need to detain all new arrivals rather than releasing them into the general population, expedite deportation hearings, provide unrestricted access for law enforcement to all federal lands at the border. Right now, they're severely restricted over which lands they can even access," said McClintock, who also wants to see the National Guard activated in whatever capacity it is needed to secure the border.
With Democrats controlling the Senate and Obama in the White House, Republicans have their work cut out for them. However, McClintock said conservatives have a crucial ally that just needs to get engaged.
"I think the American people are going to need to weigh in on this," he said. "I think these are all measures the American people recognize are desperately needed and which they would overwhelmingly support. I think if the Senate were to stand in the way of such emergency action, there would be hell to pay."
McClintock said the devastating impact of unchecked illegal immigration is not hypothetical. In fact, he said, California is living through it right now.
"The impact goes to every part of our social service structure. If we're going to provide free food and clothing and housing and medical care and transportation and legal representation and relocation, the implications are overwhelming," he said. "We're already seeing our schools, our hospitals, our courts, our law enforcement, our prisons all being overwhelmed by this flood of illegal immigration. Local and state budgets are being stretched to the max."
Perhaps of even greater concern, he said, is that the current episode on the U.S.-Mexico border could permanently damage the rule of law in America when it comes to immigration.
"We're also going to watch our legal immigration laws simply become irrelevant," he said. "Why would anyone go to all the trouble of obeying our immigration laws when they can reap the same benefits by ignoring them?"