Congressman Andy Barr Responds

I received the following letter in response to my email to Congressman Andy Barr. ( my email to the Congressman precedes this entry ). You be the judge…..

Dear Duane,

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding immigration reform. Your communication is a vital part of our legislative process, and I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this issue.

Since our nation’s birth, Americans have taken pride in the United States as a land of opportunity – a place where any individual willing to work hard has the opportunity to succeed and achieve the American Dream. Throughout the years, our country has enjoyed the benefits of a lawful and organized immigration system.

However, our current immigration system is ineffective and broken. As of 2013, there are more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States. This state of affairs gives illegal immigrants de facto amnesty. Moreover, despite years of discussion, the federal government still has failed to adequately secure our borders. This is not only an immigration issue; it is a threat to our national security as well.

The simple truth is that our immigration system is encouraging people to break our laws and punishing those who want to follow them. That has to change.

Any effort to fix our deficient system must first start by sealing our borders and ensuring that our border security system employs 21st century technology, among other resources, to permanently stop the flow of illegal border crossings. Without enhanced, effective and ongoing border security and interior enforcement, all other reforms will fail since we would soon find ourselves back in the same position with millions of undocumented immigrants flowing into our country with impunity. So securing our borders must come first – no excuses, no exceptions and no more delay.

In addition to enhanced border security and enforcement, reform must improve and streamline our legal immigration system. We should bring the hardest workers and the brightest minds in the world to America. But we should also make sure that people coming to America are committed to America.

The United States faces a critical skills shortage in knowledge-based work. Currently, many talented and hard-working foreign-born students who come to American colleges and universities to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are forced to leave the country upon graduation.

This counterproductive policy of exporting intellectual capital unnecessarily limits U.S. competitiveness. Rather than lose out on the important contributions these individuals can make to our economy, we should offer a green card to each of these qualifying students upon graduation.

We also need to reform our non-immigrant visa and seasonal labor programs. Kentucky’s agriculture, construction, restaurant, and hospitality industries rely heavily on these programs which are, in their present form, needlessly burdensome and complex. This has contributed to a labor shortage that disrupts economic growth, increases prices, and encourages employers to circumvent the law. Streamlining these programs will help supply our industries with needed labor without encouraging illegal immigration.

With respect to the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in our country, I understand that reasonable people can disagree on the best way forward. We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. Accordingly, I strongly oppose amnesty for undocumented immigrants and I believe that it would be poor policy and wrong to reward or incentivize illegal conduct by creating a special, expedited path to citizenship. Proposals that give illegal immigrants a special path to citizenship would effectively discriminate against lawful immigrants who have followed the rules and come to this country the right way.

At the same time, we must recognize the reality that inaction will only enable illegal immigration in the future and impose greater strains on public resources. Therefore, once verifiable benchmarks of border security and interior enforcement have been achieved, I am open to proposals that would encourage non-citizens to work, pay taxes, and assimilate.

In the future, to obtain legal status and protection from deportation, undocumented individuals would have to pass a criminal background check, pay a fine and back taxes, and pass an English and U.S. civics exam. But under no circumstances would these individuals be entitled to a special path to citizenship; to become a citizen and enjoy the right to vote and other benefits of citizenship, the individual would be required to get in the back of the line behind all others who have applied for citizenship lawfully.

I fully anticipate that Congress will continue to debate the topic of immigration reform in the coming months. I will certainly keep your views in mind as I continue to discuss these topics with my colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important issue. Please visit my website or contact me again should other issues of concern to you come before the Congress. To stay better connected to current legislation and become part of our online community, please sign up for my e-newsletter at http://www.barr.house.gov.

Sincerely,

Andy Barr
Member of Congress


I have read this over a couple of times and I am still not clear if he is supporting Boehner or not. I guess that’s the point. I suppose we will just have to watch and see. Still, it’s disappointing that what seemed like a solid conservative become part of the establishment so quickly.

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2 thoughts on “Congressman Andy Barr Responds

  1. It’s a form letter, Duane. They pre-write talking points by topic (in this case immigration), add your name and sign it. That’s why it’s such an ambiguous response. Staffers read the emails. Unless you are a big contributor or have some other kind of influence, Barr probably never even saw what you wrote.

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