Rep. Henry Cuellar, the only Texas Democrat serving on the House Appropriations Committee, jokingly told SA to DC participants, “I could talk about appropriations, but there’s no earmarks and no money.”
Cuellar, instead, spent most of his time discussing immigration. The Laredo native observed that the farther people live from the border, the stronger their opinions about the border tend to be – and they tend to be wrong.
The border region is not “the safest place in the whole world,” Cuellar noted. But a GAO report he requested found that the crime rate along the border is lower than in Washington, D.C. and lower than the national average.
Cuellar laid out three elements for effective immigration reform. First, smart border security that relies on technology, rather then using a 14th century solution – a fence – for a 21st century problem; second, a guest worker program; and third, a sensible solution to the 12 million undocumented residents already in the United States – not amnesty, but some sort of pathway to legal residency.