Immigration Addressed At Legislative Summit - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

08/11/06 - Nacogdoches

Immigration Addressed At Legislative Summit

by Donna McCollum

Illegal immigrants are placed in three categories. They include illegal drug traffickers, terrorists and those seeking employment. Rep. Tommy Merritt who serves on the House Border and International Affairs wants all of them to stay in their native country. "We have to secure our borders first and once we secure the border than we move forward."

Senator elect Robert Nichols supports border closure, but says there's some big forces working in the opposite direction. "The mere fact that the U.S. government is discussing the possibility of legalizing those who are already here has created an additional surge across the border for the past year of two."

That frustrates Governor Rick Perry. He's pleased with the border security provided by the National Guard, but upset how OTM's or 'other than Mexican immigrants' are handled.  "You're released because we don't have the ability to hold in detention facility those individuals and they're given a little citation that says, 'ok you have to be back around Sept. 9 for your deportation hearing. You might as well ring 'ding' you are free to move around the country, the jingle from Southwest Airlines when they hand them that because they ain't gonna come back."

The state leaders say until the federal government gets the problem under control they'll continue to support stepped up state control of the Mexican-U.S. border.  

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