The unprecedented influx of illegal immigrants and unaccompanied alien children (UACs) has created a crisis that demands a strong legislative response. This is an emergency with humanitarian, national security and financial consequences. 

The White House bypassed Congress and implemented policies encouraging individuals to enter our country illegally. In 2012, President Obama announced his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, halting deportation proceedings for certain young immigrants who unlawfully entered the country. In response, children are risking their lives to cross the border. It is estimated that the United States will apprehend 90,000 children in 2014—a drastic increase from the 6,500 illegal minors caught crossing the border in 2011. 

Even more shocking are recent reports from Customs and Border Protection that young men from Africa and the Middle East are also illegally crossing our southern border. Through the President’s message of amnesty, he has exposed our citizens to threats of terrorism, gang violence, and communicable diseases. 

In direct response, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5230 and H.R. 5272, which would stop the flow of illegal immigration and block President Obama’s executive amnesty. 

This legislation focuses on securing the border, providing humanitarian aid to unaccompanied children, and preventing any future influx of illegal immigrants. It is offset through spending cuts and the redirection of existing federal funds, so it comes at no additional cost to taxpayers. These two bills provide the necessary funding for law enforcement officials to do their job and enforce our existing laws.

These bills also add language to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. As Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, I have continuously fought to end human trafficking, which is one of the fastest growing areas of international criminal activity. Coyotes have exploited the President’s weak immigration policies and profited from children along their treacherous journey, often selling them into sex slavery. 

Once again, this administration has proven to be among the least transparent in history. In January, it requested “Escort Services for Unaccompanied Alien Children”—months before the surge was reported. 

I have written letters (June 19 & July 22) to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell regarding the surge of UACs and its impact on Wisconsin, but she has not responded to the safety and public health concerns that could directly impact our communities. 

To protect states’ rights and safeguard the individual rights of those who are in our country legally, we must demand transparency and accountability from our government.

I introduced the UAC State Authority Act, which would require the Secretary of HHS to notify a governor before transferring any UACs to his or her state and allows state governors a right-of-refusal. In short, it gives states the power to decide whether the federal government can house UACs within their borders. The sudden surge of illegal immigrants demands federal action, but the security and sovereignty of our states should not be jeopardized in the process.  

The President’s unilateral approach to addressing the border crisis simply does not work. By restoring some power to the states, Congress and our local leaders can work together to solve the problems facing our nation at the southern border, but amnesty is not the answer. The President has had six years to prevent this crisis, but chose not to. The Senate had the opportunity to take legislative action, but went home instead. The House chose to act and make a clear statement to those seeking citizenship in the United States: illegal activity will not be rewarded. We must secure the border and eliminate incentives for illegal immigration.