The congressional calendar has been extremely busy lately. This is great for getting important work accomplished in Washington, but unfortunately it prevents me from being able to travel throughout the Second District and catch up with those I represent as often as I’d like. During these times when I’m required to be in Washington for votes, I try to find different ways to connect with my constituents, so I recently held two telephone town hall events to hear directly from individuals throughout our district.
I believe both of these events were successful, and I really appreciate everyone who took the time to participate and ask questions. We discussed a variety of topics, including rebuilding our military, returning to regular order with government funding bills, continuing to repair the VA, standing up for the unborn, and many others. Throughout both of these town halls, the central issue that kept coming up was illegal immigration, so I would like to offer an update on what we are doing to crack down on the problem.
As many of you are likely aware, the immigration debate is currently ongoing in Congress. The Trump Administration recently released a basic framework of their immigration proposal, and since it is just a framework, those negotiations are ongoing. I’m glad to be involved in these important conversations with my colleagues, and I’m eager to learn more from the President about his plan so that we can put a permanent solution into place. At the end of the day, my priority is reaching a solution that serves the best interest of the people who live and work in Alabama’s Second District.
During both town hall events, I asked what everyone’s top priority is regarding our country’s illegal immigration issue, and the majority of participants said they are most concerned about securing our border. I feel the same way, and I am excited to report that I have cosponsored a bill that would do just that.
I’ve signed onto my colleague Representative Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) bill, the Securing America’s Future Act, because I believe it represents what would be the best case scenario for our country. To put it broadly, the bill would accomplish three big things: It would secure our borders by authorizing construction of a border wall. It would refocus our legal immigration standards on the skills we actually need in this country, and it would create a responsible solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
In addition, you might also recall that last year in the House we put a down payment on construction of the border wall by passing a funding bill called the Make America Prosperous and Secure Appropriations Act. The bill contains $1.6 billion for construction and security upgrades at the southern border, which was President Trump’s full request for funding in Fiscal Year 2018. I was proud to support it, and I remain frustrated that Senate Democrats have yet to allow a vote on this vital funding for our border.
I believe that most Americans, including many of the people I spoke to during my telephone town halls this week, are ready for a sensible immigration system that prioritizes our country first. I have always said that in order to truly fix our immigration system, we absolutely have to start by securing the border. If you had a leak in your house, you probably wouldn’t start replacing the dry wall without first fixing the leak. The same idea applies to our country’s illegal immigration problem – we will only be able to make real progress towards fixing the issue once we secure our border once and for all. I am proud to strongly support these efforts in the House, and I will remain actively involved as we work to tackle this problem.
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama with her husband Riley and their two children.