HSGAC Hearing Statement: The Effects of Border Insecurity and Lax Immigration Enforcement on American Communities

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, submitted the following statement for the record for the committee’s hearing, “The Effects of Border Insecurity and Lax Immigration Enforcement on American Communities.”

“As my colleagues know, this Committee has dedicated a significant amount of time to examining our nation’s border security and immigration enforcement policies. In fact, I believe we held over 20 hearings last Congress on the topic. In each of those hearings, we talked about the challenges of securing the border, but we also acknowledged a lot of the progress that we have made over the years.

“Today, it appears we will only get one side of the story. And, while we value our witnesses for being here today and sharing – in some cases – very personal and tragic stories, the fact remains there is nobody here from the Department of Homeland Security to tell the American people what they are doing to address these important challenges. So I share Senator McCaskill’s concerns and join her in asking, once again, for somebody from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to come speak to this Committee in an open setting about the recent rollout of policies targeting broad categories of law-abiding non-citizens living in our country for arrest and deportation.

“You wouldn’t know it from the title of this hearing or the witnesses the majority has chosen to invite, but the fact is that immigrants commit crime at lower rates than citizens. President Trump’s uninformed and irresponsible immigration policies will actually make communities less safe, driving undocumented individuals further into the shadows and making it less likely that they’ll report crimes or cooperate with police officers. And by ramping up deportation proceedings against men and women and families living peacefully in our communities, they are also a waste of taxpayer dollars.

“But we unfortunately won’t hear anything about that today. We also won’t hear about the important contributions many immigrants make to our society every day.

“This year, in Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders, Buffett—the third-richest man in the world—lauded the contributions immigrants make to our society. His letter said, in part, that America is a great place today because of American ingenuity, a market system, the rule of law, and a tide of talented ambitious immigrants. This combination, he said, has helped to ‘deliver abundance beyond any dreams of our forefathers.’ This has been true over the past 240 years of our history, and it is true today.

“I’ll give you an example. In my home state of Delaware, 34 incredibly talented ‘Dreamers’—undocumented immigrants brought here as children—recently completed their first semester of college at Delaware State University. These students, many of whom are barred from obtaining a driver’s license in their home states, achieved a combined grade-point average of 3.76.

“To ignore the positive contributions of immigrants and blame all our society’s ills on immigration is irresponsible and shortsighted. And frankly, it’s bad policy.”