Congress needs to pass immigration reform in order to achieve security and stability on the southern border, Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, told Newsweek in an interview published on Tuesday.
"This country has been just going back and forth for too long [arguing about immigration], and the problem is that it's a political winner for both parties to be able to throw it around, but the loser is the American public," said Gonzales, whose Texas district spans 800 miles along the Mexican border, more than that of any other congressman.
Although Gonzales has criticized the Biden administration's attempts to undo policies pursued by former President Donald Trump and believes it could do more to ensure security, he said it is Congress that must address the heart of the issues.
Calling immigration reform "the right thing to do," Gonzales told Newsweek that Congress must introduce a policy that does not encourage illegal immigration and instead offers feasible, clear pathways for qualifying people to pursue their "American dream," instead of each administration changing policies all the time.
"It's been difficult to find people that even want to have the conversation," Gonzales said. "It seems like everyone is in their corners, but I'll keep pushing. Ultimately, this is about national security."
While Gonzales acknowledges there must be a long-term solution, he did make several suggestion on what can be done in the short term in order to help address the problem, such as pressing the Biden administration not to get rid of any border agents who face potential firings this month due to the federal vaccine mandate.
With that in mind, Gonzales introduced the Border Agents Staying Employed (BASE) Act last month in an attempt to provide vaccination alternatives.
He also recommended the administration add more drones that can significantly help agents as they monitor remote areas of the border.
"These simple things, I think, would go a long way in helping kind of just shore up or insulate a Border Patrol that is beyond a breaking point," Gonzales said. "When a terrorist threat occurs, they don't target Republicans or Democrats, they're just trying to kill Americans. Everyone should be rooting for a secure border."
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