Op-Ed: House-Passed Legislation A Thoughtful and Thorough Response to Border Crisis

Op-Ed: House-Passed Legislation A Thoughtful and Thorough Response to Border Crisis

Congressman Keith Rothfus
Congressman Keith Rothfus

The situation on our Southern Border is a humanitarian crisis. Solving it requires us to work together on a responsible response that secures the border, stems the tide of illegal immigration and returns the children safely to their homes.

This border crisis is one of President Obama’s own making. His failure to enforce the law and secure the border have encouraged tens of thousands of children to undertake a dangerous and at times deadly journey to the United States.

Many of these children come from Central American cities like Guatemala City, San Salvador, and San Pedro Sula. Children travel upwards of 1,300 miles from these cities to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and California. On the way they are exposed to human and sex traffickers, exposure to the elements, health risks, and other dangers.

That is not fair to these children.

This is just the latest example of the President’s lack of regard for the rule of law and how it has very real consequences for people.

The House has offered a responsible solution to help address the current crisis.

The legislation my colleagues and I approved on August 1st reprioritizes resources to secure the border, provide humanitarian assistance and emergency care, return children to their countries of origin, and discourage others from attempting to make the dangerous journey.

It provides funding for additional temporary judges to assist with the additional caseload and expedite judicial proceedings.

The children should be returned to their home countries expeditiously, but they should be treated with respect and compassion while they are in the United States.

The legislation approved by the House ensures that the children receive temporary housing and emergency care. It also redirects an additional $70 million to provide border State governors with the financial resources and flexibility to deploy the National Guard to help provide humanitarian assistance. Deploying the National Guard will free up Customs and Border Protection to focus on its core mission.

The legislation also provides the Department of Homeland Security with an additional $405 million for border security and enforcement, including supplemental funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The House passed other reforms to help Customs and Border Protection do its job.

Currently the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service control around eight hundred miles, or around forty percent, of the U.S.-Mexico border. The 20.7 million acres of borderlands they control is equivalent to three-quarters of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Customs and Border Protection officers are not able to patrol much of this area because of regulations in place to protect land and wildlife.

The legislation we passed includes commonsense reforms that provide Customs and Border Protection with the ability to use motorized vehicles, build roads and other necessary infrastructure, and install surveillance technology on federally owned land in order to improve border security.

Finally, the legislation will help prevent future humanitarian crises by amending current law to allow for children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to be promptly returned home. It is about fairness and equality and treats all unaccompanied children the same as those from Canada and Mexico.

The legislation we passed is not a blank check for President Obama.

It is a carefully crafted response to the chaos that the President has allowed to develop on the border and in these children’s lives.

To address the current crisis, the Senate and President should approve this legislation immediately. To prevent future crises, the President should enforce the law and secure the border.

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About The Author

Profile photo of Congressman Keith Rothfus

Keith Rothfus is the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district.


    1. eddiepgh

      So was it this current President’s fault because the previous administrations didn’t do enough to secure the borders or prevent children and families from traveling hundreds of miles to start a new life here in America?

      While some of the policies can be pointed out as failures you make it sound like the President is directly responsible for kids being sold into slavery etc. and that is hardly the case.

      And to be clear I did not vote for him.

      1. Nobam

        YES, It IS the current POTUS fault! Six years? Now this is happing at this level? Yep- Nobama earned this one!

        1. jackson4570

          Nobama true beleiver of war crimnal and Chamber of commerce imigration supporter McCain and draft dodger and Chamber of commerce illegal immigration supporter Romney. What’s the point? He’s just doing what his and the other two’s corporate masters demand. You do not live in a democracy a**h***. When are you going to get that in your head.

      2. nina bartoletta

        Truth is, this whole immigration problem began on GW Bush’s watch. Its just one more Republican mess left for Obama to have to clean up and get blamed for. Thats gotten older than dirt already.

    2. Dan Sainovich

      Uh, where do the children get their chance to present their case/hearing to stay in this country. I thought that is what the law required. You just mention that they are to be returned to their country.

      1. Nobama

        They are here ILLEAGALLY! They don’t and should not have that chance. You don’t like it? Then you can go with them back to that shit hole they came from you bleeding heart libturd! You would fit right in.

    3. sd1120

      Obama’s fault, Obama’s fault…blah, blah, blah…blah, blah… This worthless piece of shit is making a career of blaming Obama for all the world’s ills. And have you noticed, this inefective back bencher is off of the repeal ObamaCare bandwagon??? Rothfus is a tea party mouthpiece who doesn’t know the first thing about the district he allegedly represents.

      1. nina bartoletta

        sd1120 You said it all in a nutshell. The Republicans don’t know how to do anything but blame Obama, blame Obama, blame Obama. All the while they themselves do NOTHING constructive to improve our country. All they are good for is their hate talk and for causing division across the country, forcing social issues and for helping the rich get richer while the rest of us get poorer. We need to remember this when we go vote in November. To elect a Republican is to vote against the 99%–or, your own interests– in this country. Right here in PA we only have to look at the last four years of Tom Corbett to see proof of that. You probably say you hate Democrats too? Fact is, we got to pick one of them. While Democrats are not perfect we know for sure what we will have with more Republicans, which is to work harder and longer and fall further behind while paying for their phony wars, frivolous spending and expensive government shutdowns. (The last one cost us $24 Billion.)

        Vote Democrat in November and help move America ahead!

        1. Nobama

          Awful lot of welfare poverty pimps commenting. After six years and it’s still Bush’s fault. Grow the fuck up already.

    4. Profile photo of Raven

      “This border crisis is one of President Obama’s own making. ” My God, how absolutely inane and irresponsible! All by his own fucking self, right? You and your other cohorts of hate just can’t get over this chicken shit scapegoating blame game, can you?! Get a life and do some homework, you asshole, and get out of politics.

    5. Profile photo of Raven

      “This is just the latest example of the President’s lack of regard for the rule of law and how it has very real consequences for people.”

      “It is a carefully crafted response to the chaos that the President has allowed to develop on the border and in these children’s lives.”

      When I read absolute cause-effect personal blame statements like this, I have to question the mental capacity of the writer. This is retarded shit, it is intentional, and it is propaganda born of Facebook postings from radical right-wing websites that misrepresent the facts and will do literally anything to discredit the current administration. To make it simple, they put Obama’s face and name on it all. It’s an easy out for people who cannot and do not know how to think. This stuff used to be the litany of southern, ultraconservative, Bible-thumping, redneck, uneducated back woods rubes, and now it is the daily harangue of mainstream Republican party supporters. I used to think that some commenters here were harsh on you, but not now. You really are a piece of shit, and people should know that. I am not a member of either party, but I cannot bear to see crap like this unloaded on the public. Stop reading your Facebook rants from the far right and shut the fuck up. You have nothing of importance to say. You, my plagiarizing friend, did not write much of this article, especially the two statements above. It is excerpted from Facebook rants of the right wing, and you should be ashamed of yourself. Next time, post an apology for this phony op-ed, then leave us alone.

    6. Profile photo of Raven

      “This is just the latest example of the President’s lack of regard for the rule of law and how it has very real consequences for people.”

      Reference (one among many) : Reason.com
      Free Minds & Free Markets
      President Obama Puts Politics Above the Rule of Law
      Andrew Napolitano | July 11, 2013

      “His radical rejection of the rule of law, which presents a clear and present danger to the freedom of us all, has had fatal consequences.”

      “This border crisis is one of President Obama’s own making.”

      Reference (one of many): “The crisis on the border is one of the president’s own making. But he still has not learned his lesson. Now he has threatened to rewrite law and take more unilateral action on immigration in the coming months. Let me be clear: such action would create an ever greater incentive for more illegal crossings and make the crisis on our border even worse,” said (John) Boehner.

      Keith, you are a liar.

    7. Profile photo of medinfo2000

      MY opinion will probably earn me the wrath of the haters here, but that’s their tough noogies. I’ve tried to maintain a semblance of civility on this site, but after reading another example of your twisted reasoning I have to speak my mind.

      So, what the hell is wrong with you? They’re KIDS for God’s sake. You’re falling all over yourself in your unabashed orgasm of slamming Obama. First you say it’s a “humanitarian crisis”, then you call it a “tide of illegal immigration”. Get your head outta your ass and make up your mind! You should be ashamed of yourself; and you call yourself a practicing Catholic?

      Has it ever occurred to you that MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, these kids should be considered refugees trying to escape the drug lords that are using them? All that you and the haters see is just another another chance to bash Obama and that’s it. I’ve heard enough of your horsesh*t.


      1. nina bartoletta

        There is no good reason to vote for ANY Republican– not in Beaver County, not in PA and not nationally. They are the rich man’s party of hate and division and will ultimately destroy our great nation if we allow them. They care NOTHING about the common people,they have no intentions of serving the people as they are elected to serve, they only care about and intend to keep the 1% satisfied–the Koch’s and the Waltons and the Ellisons, et al–but certainly, they care nothing whatsoever about you and me. You people on here who think you are smart running with the Republicans are total megafools.

    8. Profile photo of Raven

      This period of national, and by imitation local, Republican political history will go down as one of the worst in recent times. What better opportunity to vent hate than to have a Black man in the White House to be the target of radical right-wing extremism? This is largely racism at its worst, and people who use it as an excuse for political philosophy should be called on it every time it happens. What used to be the litany of back woods southern rubes is now the chant of Republican mainstreamers. With the internet to do their thinking for them, they can cut-and-paste their ways into the homes of the gullible, and they do so very effectively. Try this stuff again, Rothfus, and I am going to reveal you — with the facts — and uncover your presumptuous lying bullshit every time you do it.

    9. Profile photo of cracker

      In through the front door, not over the back fence. ILLEGAL is illegal, all of them need to go. We have way more than our share of problems right here. WE have kids wo are being abused, starved and left uneducated. We have kids who are killing other kids, kids giving birth to other kids, kids being born drug addicts and kids who have no chance of a “normal” life. Rampid unemployment, more folks sucking off the government tit than are working, that’s just to name a few. Go look at any third world country, the story is the same. Get over it, life is tough all over, time to fix our back yard.
      So tell me, democraps, which set of laws are the next ones your going to say it’s OK to ignore? Which other due process is going to be ignored for the sake of some other bleeding heart agenda? It’s for the kids, give me a break.

      Keith, your a no good, rotten, usless waste of skin, you and the other 500+ assholes that pose as our representitives, you and your other cohorts arn’t worth the powder it would take to blow all of you up. If your collective brain power were made of dynamite, you wouldn’t have enough to blow your nose.

      1. Profile photo of Raven

        I won’t challenge all you say, Cracker, but do you really think that this country operates on a strict legal vs. illegal set of rules? It’s shades of grey in the courts, and on the beat, and that is why we have interpretations of laws and discretions in prosecutions. This thorny issue is no exception, and the causes of it are complex. There was very little that could have been done immediately or that could have been known to preempt it. Everyone is correct in hindsight, but this situation evolved, and at each step, measures were taken to address it as it was, not as it would become, for no one knew for sure. A lot of hands were tied legally and politically and some actions were just not possible — like financing and National Guard/Army deployment or jurisdictional disputes — and not based upon right/wrong decisions. It took awhile until not only Texas was the front line. I don’t place these children in the same class as illegal farm laborers who stay here. In a real sense, they are running from being killed. The situation is entirely unique.

    10. Icanread

      Bush signed into law the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act that created this mess. Read here for a good summary:

      I do applaud the House’s effort to treat Central American illegal immigrants the same as immigrants from Mexico and Canada. That’s only fair. There is a big push to define Central American kids and families as refugees, when the conditions they are fleeing are the same as many inner city U.S. areas and Central American businesses are facing the same shakedowns that U.S. businesses faced for years by the mob in the U.S. This is not a “refugee” situation. That term is reserved for people who are being victimized and endangered by their governments, not the neighborhood thugs or the coyotes who take thousands from illegal border crossers and don’t give them a fair shake.

      Human trafficking is another buzzword to try to justify refugee status. That also occurs in Mexico and the U.S. You can’t export all potential human trafficking victims from Central America, Thailand, or Liberia to the U.S. If any kids crossing the border are found to be victims, they should be returned to their countries and referred to the proper authorities in that country, not given automatic citizen status, which would only serve to encourage victimizing youth.

      I don’t applaud the House-backed effort by Ted Cruz to limit the authority of Obama in relation to illegal immigrants who have been here for years and years. While I disagree with the Dream Act, this provision will kill any possibility that your House Immigration funding bill had of passing the Senate, and you know it. Therefore, this is just a bunch of posturing and pandering to voters for the upcoming elections- the usual Washington b.s.

      Roads in the desert? Are you joking? That’s what’s limiting access to people who are crossing into the U.S. illegally. What contractor got that giveaway?

      1. nina bartoletta

        GW Bush certainly is behind the immigration mess, from as far back as 2005. He fathered this baby just like every other disaster he created then left behind for Obama to inherit and be blamed for and criticized for trying to correct. Here we are, 9 years after a Republican has been in office and still trying to fix their messes. Why anyone would ever vote for one of these incompetents again is beyond me.

        1. Icanread

          The Bush law is 6 1/2 years old. It’s a bipartisan fuck up at this point.

          I would honestly like to vote for Erin McClelland in November and give her a chance not to screw up as much as Rothfus, but I have no idea what she stands for. Her website says she supports jobs, women, good healthcare, and infrastructure. Who doesn’t? That’s not exactly going out on a limb. Specifics please. Let me know she’s not just some chick that a few influential Dem’s in the area thought had the right look.

    11. SpeakTheTruthToo

      Regardless of how you feel about Rothfus, this is a huge issue and it needs to dealt with and stopped.

    12. nina bartoletta

      Will someone please explain IN DETAIL what Keith Rothfus has done for the people of Beaver County? Can anyone give us a detailed account of his accomplishments on behalf of the people in Beaver County, because all I can find are a few missed coffees and alot of photos of him looking really busy on the phone, etc. Are those pictures of him calling someone to bring new industry to the area? (Good jobs, not more Walmart – more minimum wagers.) Im at a loss why we are supposed to vote for this guy again? And please dont bring up the Democrats because the Democrats arent in his position, HE is. ?????

    13. nina bartoletta

      “Awful lot of welfare poverty pimps commenting. After six years and it’s still Bush’s fault. Grow the fuck up already.”

      That’s awful Republican of you, “Nobama.” Spoken like a typical Republican who has no clue how to answer so he reverts to showing his gross and immature caliber by using the F word. You are so everywhere today and nobody even pays you any mind.

      1. Profile photo of Raven

        @nina bartoletta: Usually, I also try to keep it “clean”, but the outrage this kind of self-serving, racist, plagiarized Op-Ed deserves some colorful language to bring the point home. This hate-filled attacking has become the repeated dogma of mainstream Republicans and fills Facebook postings, Twitter attacks and the bowels of Fox news. One would have to be blind to not see that the national Republican party is in decline, regardless of its philosophy, and it is the people who use this kind of subterfuge to champion it who are to blame. Rothfus just happens to be the local champion of this hate, and he deserves no respect.

        1. nina bartoletta

          Cant agree with you more, Raven. The whole country truly is sick and tired of these hateful, racist Republicans and all their garbage. There is no point in trying to converse civilly with any of them, there just isnt. For one thing, they are simply plain ignorant, stupid, willfully blind to everything going on, they havent a clue on how to do their own thinking and their own talking. This is painfully obvious when one of them opens their mouth and starts to regurgitate all the rightwingnut FOX-fed Koolaid and propaganda they proudly absorb as “fact.” They think they come across as informed and logical and convincing, when what they really sound like is a group of poorly trained chatty chimps clapping and slapping their foreheads. Rothfus appeals to people who are not equipped to think independently. Keithie latches onto weak minded people like these ones because Keithie knows anyone with half a working brain would never buy into his fraudulent rightwing bullcrap. Only the crazies and the low intelligence voters follow the lying, hateful, divisionist Republicans today. Even people with money are deserting the party because they are so pathetic and so circling the drains. Go figure.

        2. Nobama

          @Nina -There goes that Love and Compassion the Libturds keep talking about that they claim they have for their fellow man. Hateful racist Republicans? When did Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Rev. Wright and Michele Obama become Republicans? Either you are so misinformed on so many levels, or you have a mental disease. I stick with my claim-You are nothing more than a welfare poverty pimp.

        3. Nobama

          Soooo….It’s OK for YOU to use the F-word, but not me. Typical Libturd mentality. Do as I say, not as I do.

    14. Profile photo of Raven

      The local Democrats give us organized crime, and the Republicans give us racism. Some place special. Yep, some place really special.

    15. nina bartoletta

      Raven: The Democrats give us organized crime? Seriously? You really need to research that one a little further and discover who really has been committing all the crime in the past 3 decades, it has not been the Democrats like you would have us believe. Also, research and compare the magnitude of the perverse crimes committed by elected officials for the last 3 decades–the list of Republican deviants caught and convicted for crimes of perversion is an extremely long list of incomparable to a few Democrats. No, there is no comparison when it comes to crimes being committed by Republicans. Thats just another one of those pesky facts–sure to get you all riled up but nonetheless, quite true.

    16. Profile photo of Raven

      I stick to my claim — local Democratic elected officials, starting namely with George David, and his Aliquippa network of friends, family, hangers-on and business cohorts, and extending into other local communities, are as organized a bunch of agents of corruption as any of their Republican counterparts. My “research” is following these people in the news, courts and events for the past three years and before. The local Republicans are not choirboys and Rainbow girls, but they have not been as actively involved in the illegal stuff that makes the news so frequently. And no, it is not John Paul’s coverage that makes them so. They have done it beautifully on their own.

    17. nina bartoletta

      Wow, some people are so easy. I have read many times where this “publication” claims to be “fair and balanced” and only here so that people hear both sides and go away with the truth.

      I put the bait out there for the desperately angry Republicans who have saturated this site, obviously encouraged by an anti-Democratic site administrator, and the bite has been beyond rabid. Such a joke. This is worse than the Times’ reporting, they at least try to seem fair. Promoting and defending Keith Rothfus is pretty pathetic, dont you think? Then again, consider the source.

      1. Profile photo of John Paul
        John Paul

        “encouraged by an anti-Democratic site administrator”

        Lol, I literally squirted hot coffee out of my nose when I read that. It burns it burns!

        Just as an FYI I have written Erin McClelland’s campaign on a couple of occasions extending an open invitation for her to pen an op-ed for publication on this site as well. The last invitation I sent her was on August 13th.

        So far she has chosen not to participate, but if we end up receiving a piece from her I will publish it.

        I will also note I used to publish regular op-eds from Democratic State Representative Jesse White before he got redistricted out of Beaver County. There is an open invitation to all elected officials and candidates for public office in the county to submit op-eds as an opportunity to speak directly to the people of Beaver County without having to do so through a media filter of editing or editorializing.

        Thanks as always for being a reader of the Beaver Countian!

        PS: Here’s a copy of the last email I sent to the McClelland campaign 3 days ago.


        I’m John Paul of the Beaver Countian here in Beaver County, PA.

        I’m writing to extend an invitation to Erin McClelland to submit an op-ed piece to us for publication.

        On a regular basis we publish pieces submitted to us by Congressman Keith Rothfus, and as we are now in the middle of an election cycle we felt it appropriate to publish similar pieces by McClelland if she saw fit.

        Here’s the latest piece we published earlier this week by Congressman Rothfus about immigration:

        Op-Ed: House-Passed Legislation A Thoughtful and Thorough Response to Border Crisis

        If Ms. McClelland chooses to participate we ask that her piece not be about the campaign or her candidacy, but rather about a topical issue currently facing Congress. Perhaps her views on immigration to contrast those expressed by Congressman Rothfus in his piece would be appropriate?

        As we do with Congressman Rothfus, we would publish the piece as-written.

        Thanks for your time and consideration.

        – John Paul


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