Secure the Border Act of 2023

Floor Speech

Date: May 11, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CORREA. Mr. Speaker, I thank our colleagues on the other side of the aisle for taking on such an important and difficult task: immigration reform, the refugee crisis.

My friends on the other side are absolutely correct. Title 42 is ending today. I have to remind you, when many of you voted to lift the COVID-19 emergency, you legally, effectively, voted to end title 42. Don't forget that. You voted to lift title 42.

Today, we are facing a worldwide refugee crisis, the likes that we haven't seen since World War II. In World War II, we had 60 million refugees moving throughout Europe. This is what we are facing today.

It is not only the United States. It is also Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia, who is housing 2.4 million Venezuelan refugees. This is a challenge for all of us.

We need real solutions. Under existing laws, we do have some solutions.

I am probably the only legislator here today that went to visit the Ukrainian refugee camps in Tijuana, Mexico, about a year ago. Let me tell you what I found: Ukrainian refugees in Tijuana waiting to cross into the United States.

What did we do? We lifted title 42. We gave them temporary protective status, and walked them into the United States. Today, that refugee camp is gone. Why? Because those refugees can apply for status from Europe directly. That is a model that worked under existing laws, and the administration, this Biden administration, is implementing something very similar to that as we speak.

Your proposal, my good friends on the other side of the aisle, has some challenges. I will start by talking about the biggest one: E- Verify, mandatory E-Verify.

We have a labor shortage in this country. Every time I get the small businessmen here, the large businessmen, or the farmers especially, 50 percent of our farmworkers are undocumented today in this country. They are the ones who pick our crops. With forced E-Verify, you are essentially forcing, making small business owners criminals. They are going to have to choose between firing those employees, harvesting their crops, or becoming criminals. That is not the intent of your legislation, but that is effectively what you are doing today.

My colleague from California knows that because that is why he pushed an amendment for the farming industry, for this exact reason.

But we not only have farmers, we have small businesses as well in this country.


Mr. CORREA. Mr. Speaker, I would say E-Verify, without true immigration reform, is not going to work.

My friends, I reach out to you across the aisle and say: Let's do this for America. Let's fix our broken immigration system, and let's address this worldwide refugee challenge right now.