by John Brown's Ghost
Ghost of John Brown (GJB): In last year’s presidential race, the topic of illegal aliens was prominent. What should the United States do to curb the influx of illegal aliens? Related to that, Congressman Joe Wilson yelled the word “lie” when President Obama said that illegal aliens would not get benefits under a new health care plan. Should they?
Randy Hultgren (RH): No, to answer that question first – they shouldn’t receive benefits if they are here illegally, and I believe much of what Congress is doing right now and what we’ve seen here in the State of Illinois does open up benefits to people who have come here illegally.
Getting back to addressing the issue of those folks who have chosen to come here illegally, a couple of things that we need to do.
First of all, we need to enforce laws that are already in place. Congress - the legislative branch - has legislated many clear laws that would address illegal immigrants and employers who hire and encourage illegal immigrants to come-in, and yet the executive branch - who’s suppose to execute legislation - has failed to follow through on execution of laws that are in place. So, we need to enforce the laws that we already have. Make sure that our employers know if they’re going around the laws that we have by hiring people illegally (which really does impact the jobs that are available and the quality of income that people are receiving or benefits that they can be receiving) they need to be given fair warning that we are going to start enforcing the laws that are on the books.
We also need to tighten up our borders. Our borders are porous and it puts us in a really bad spot with terrorism. It also puts us in a bad spot when someone who is in, especially Latin America will make the decision of “well, is it easier for me to sneak through the border or go through the process of becoming a legal citizen or resident of the United States of America”, and when they make that decision “well it’s just easier for me to just sneak in illegally”, something’s wrong, so we need to tighten up our porous borders.
I’m opposed to any kind of amnesty push that many are trying to do. I don’t think this is something that we have to do all at once, but it’s a process again of tightening up our borders, making sure that our law enforcement officials there have the resources they need to keep our borders in check. But then also, we need to go through the bureaucracy of our immigration policy that has set this system up so that it becomes easier for it to be illegal than to go through the legal process. That’s not right either. Again, bureaucracy has almost become an incentive for people to break the law. We need to go back and start looking at ways to start to clean up this process so it’s not a multi-year event for someone who really would be a benefit for us to have as a citizen or a worker here in the United States of America. It shouldn’t take that long to go through the process in the right way.
All of those things I would like to see happen. Where we tighten up our borders, enforce the laws that are already on the books, clean up the bureaucracy of our immigration departments and also that we look at long term how we can address having temporary workers for people who really have no intention of ever becoming citizens but who are looking for an opportunity to work and are not taking away jobs from citizens here because, for whatever reason, citizens here don’t want to do those jobs. All of those things I think can really address immigration.
GJB: It’s interesting that several years ago Congress decided to put in several hundred miles of new border fence, but like you said, the problem comes to the Executive Branch. A lot of that fence never got put up.
RH: Right, that’s true. As many things, it’s not necessarily a lack of laws that are on the books, but it’s the lack of enforcement and the will to follow through on the laws that are already there.
GJB: Recently, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a speech at the United Nations, which was followed up by Prime Minister Netanyahu denouncing the United Nations for their lack of action against Iran. It was also revealed that Iran now has a second uranium enrichment facility. What steps should the United States take regarding Iran and their nuclear proliferation?
RH: I believe Iran is our number one threat against the United States, so we need to take it very seriously and do everything we can to eliminate the nuclear option from Iran. I’m frustrated with the Obama administration that they haven’t done more to empower those who are inside Iran that really could overthrow the current power structures. I think we’ve had that opportunity with very little if maybe no loss of American life if we could have given resources to those that were right there within Iran we could have had some very significant impact and yet the Obama administration has failed to act in that way.
That being said, we need to do everything we can to make sure that we fight against nuclear proliferation in Iran and make sure that they don’t have that nuclear option. So, we need to give our intelligence the resources that they need to be able to find out what actually is going on there to prepare to fight against that. We also need to make sure that we protect our best friends, Israel, and that we’re giving them the resources that they need and that they know that they’ve got our support and commitment that we’re going to stick by them. Obviously they’re much closer to a dangerous nation like Iran. So, they need to be confident that we are with them and that we’re not going to back away from them.
GJB: Recently, US Attorney General Holder decided to move terrorist prisoners to New York City for trial. Was this the correct move on his part?
RH: No, it was a mistake. I’m opposed to moving terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to New York City. We even saw the Governor of New York opposed to this originally, and many people there. I am opposed to bringing terrorists whose stated intention is to destroy America and to give them the protections of the American system. I’m opposed to it 100%. There’s a reason why we have Guantanamo Bay; to protect ourselves from people who are intent on destroying our lifestyle, our system of government, our freedom and so I do support a continuation of Guantanamo Bay. I’m opposed to moving terrorists here and giving them the same judicial privileges of American citizens that they would receive as they move here.
GJB: The President recently changed our position on establishing missile defense in Europe. Was this the right move or the wrong move?
RH: I think it was the wrong move again for many reasons, but also we need to protect our allies there and so this change by the President really undercuts that. These are people that committed to us for decades and we need to continue that good relationship. I think even worse was that he did it unilaterally without notifying Poland and the Czech Republic; countries again, that we’ve had a good relationship with. Also there was no agreement from Russia that they would abide by this as well, so it really was a mistake. It felt like a rookie mistake that has very dangerous implications for us and for our allies over in Europe.
GJB: Recently, President Obama imposed a 35% tariff on tires from China. Was this the correct move?
RH: I struggle on this a little bit. I’m for open trade but I also want to make sure that companies that we’re trading with are abiding by the same rules; that there’s a level playing field. I do want to make sure that as we are encouraging foreign trade and as we are open selling our products to other nations and also allowing other people to buy products from other countries as well that we do have that opportunity for the free market to work internationally. But, it does need to be somewhat of a level playing field so we need to make sure that they’re abiding by the same rules that we’re abiding by and our companies have to abide by. I’m looking for that leveling of the playing field.
What I do want to see happen is as we’re entering more international agreements that our main focus again is on helping our own manufacturers our own production our own agriculture, we’ve got wonderful resources here we want to make sure that we are giving our manufacturers and those who produce resources that other nations are going to want, that we give them the opportunity to be successful in a world market and so that needs to be our focus on this and as best we can to make sure that there’s level rules and a level playing field with all of the partners in these type of agreements.
GJB: Well Senator, thank you very much for taking out some time and sitting down to answer some questions.
RH: Thank you, I’ve really enjoyed it.