Videos & Speeches

Madam President, I wish to address the Senate in regard to a terrible tragedy that has occurred in our state. I start with the premise that our immigration system is terribly, terribly broken and the consequences of flawed immigration policies exhibit themselves across our society. It’s hard to understand why nothing has been done to address certain obviously dangerous vulnerabilities – specific problems that put American lives at risk.

Sanctuary city policies, an indifference about prosecution of illegal immigrants arrested for dangerous crimes and the tolerance of bureaucratic red tape by [the] administration all contribute to a dangerous degrading of the criminal justice system. The failure to address illegal immigration at all levels of government has been accounted for in lost lives.

Sometimes a government failure is just annoying. Sometimes it’s deadly. Decades of broken immigration policy contributed to the situation that led to the murder of four people in Kansas and another in Missouri. The victims are Michael Capps, 41 years old, Jake Waters, 36 years old, Clint Harter, 27 years old, Austin Harter, 29, all of Kansas City, Kansas, and Randy Nordman, 49 years old, of New Florence, Missouri. The man suspected of taking these lives is an illegal immigrant—a man who has unlawfully entered the United States three times. He has been arrested over and over. He has repeatedly demonstrated that he is a serious threat. Yet, despite these red flags, the system failed and this man was free and able to commit these barbaric acts.

The extent of the systemic breakdown in this case is sickening. The process – how criminal suspects unlawfully in the country are processed – is a failure. The policies are terribly ineffective. In the current system, justice is delayed by bureaucracy or obstructed, in some cases, amazingly, by design. A broken system: some people prefer it that way and work to make it so. Others simply permit it to persist. Regardless, this has resulted in horrific crimes.

Sanctuary city policies and the laws that enable them must be fixed before the unnecessary loss of innocent life happens again. Failure to do so only allows more crimes like these murders and the spree of criminal behavior that preceded them.

Congress needs to act now. The President needs to act now. The Department of Homeland Security needs to act now. Local governments and law enforcement agencies need to act now.

The Senate's attempt to do just that has been stymied, but we must not give up on an effort to secure our nation and protect Americans from harm. Failure to address these problems will only make the problems worse and will make them more difficult to solve later. Continuing the status quo means empowering career offenders, incentivizing law-evading behavior, impeding the prosecution of crime, and releasing dangerous and habitually unlawful individuals who have no place in our communities.

These victims of crime like last week's horrors in Kansas City, have been failed by their communities and by their political leaders. Americans and our communities will continue to pay the price for the failure of our immigration system and the refusal of policymakers to work together to fix it.

Americans and their families will continue to pay; hopefully not again in the loss of life, but how can we guarantee that? We must act quickly. We must act now to correct these immediate problems, improve our nation's broken immigration policies and laws, and stop the terrible consequences.

The loss of life is a terrible thing and probably, in this circumstance, had no reason to happen – would not have happened if the jobs had been done.

Kansans, Kansas families, Americans, American families deserve much, much better. These victims and their families – we honor them today, we offer our condolences and provide our sympathies – but these individuals and their families deserved better.