SAN YSIDRO, CA- Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Democratic Leader, said today the U.S. immigration system is “broken,” and called for comprehensive reforms of immigration policies to improve national security.
Reid made the remarks after a tour of the U.S.-Mexico border near San Ysidro, California.
“For too long our government has failed to enforce our immigration laws,” said Reid. “We need to secure our borders, and I believe the best way to do that is with realistic reforms that are comprehensive and effective.”
With the Senate beginning work on sweeping immigration reform measures early next week, Reid said he wanted to see the border in person and talk to Border Patrol agents so he could bring information back to Washington for the upcoming debate.
“We need more border patrol agents, and we need to be sure they have the equipment and the technology they need to stop the illegal flow of people across our borders,” said Reid.
But the Senate Democratic Leader also rejected any immigration reforms based only on enforcement.
“We need comprehensive immigration reform because you cannot solve this problem with enforcement alone,” continued Reid. “We’ve tried that for the past twenty years. We’ve tripled the number of agents on the border over the last two decades, and increased the immigration enforcement budget by ten times. It hasn’t solved the problem. We can only solve our immigration crisis by combining tougher and more effective enforcement of our immigration laws with realistic reforms.”
Border Patrol Agents took Reid on a helicopter tour of Southern California border areas. They also showed Reid the San Ysidro port of entry and the cross-border drug-smuggling tunnel recently discovered nearby. Sheriff Bill Young of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was on the tour with Reid.
“It is very important for us as a community to understand the implications and ramifications of border security. The best way to do that is to gain a firsthand view of the situation,” said Sheriff Young. “I appreciate Senator Reid’s invitation to join this bi-partisan trip and I will continue to work with Senator Reid on this very important issue.”
Before the border tour, Reid met with immigrant workers and business leaders in Las Vegas to discuss the positive impact of legal immigration on the economy.
“Our economy needs immigrants and benefits from them,” said Reid. “These people are proof that the American Dream is alive and well. We need better, fairer immigration laws so we can tighten our border without hurting our economy.”