U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords today issued the following statement on President Obama's call for comprehensive immigration reform.
Only a few years ago, President George W. Bush spoke passionately about the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Today, President Obama articulated his vision for fixing our nation's broken immigration system.
Arizonans have heard it all before. We listen closely to the speeches and then wait for Washington to act. We're tired of waiting.
The crisis on America's borders won't be addressed with words. Arizonans know this better than anyone. We know that specific steps must be taken to realistically address this issue.
First and foremost among the necessary steps is the imperative of securing our borders. I was disappointed to hear the president give short shrift to border security concerns by saying that our nation's southern border is more secure today than at any time in the past 20 years. That is not a sign of progress, it is a statement on the poor job we have done in securing the border for the past two decades.
While some improvements in some parts of the border have been made, many Southern Arizonans still live in fear and that is unacceptable.
I agree with President Obama's statement that debate over immigration has become more contentious because of Washington's failure to fix a broken immigration system. That is what drove the Arizona Legislature to pass SB1070 -- a growing sense of frustration and anger that I and many Arizonans share.
I also support the president's view that those who have entered this country illegally must be held accountable. They must not be granted amnesty as we have unwisely done in the past.
And I wholeheartedly embrace the president's call for a bipartisan approach to confronting this problem. In the past, the failure of the parties to work together has led only to inaction. Arizonans know there can be common ground on this issue. Washington needs to find it, seize it and make the most of it.
Today, we have two border problems: security and reform of our broken immigration laws. I reject the call by some that we must focus exclusively on one without addressing the other. We are a smart country. We can multitask. We can -- and we must -- address both of these problems.
We cannot, however, have a conversation about the overall solutions until we can give Americans assurances that we have taken all necessary steps to secure the border.