U.S. Rep. Mike Flood said Thursday that he’ll visit the southern U.S. border next week to see first-hand what’s been described to him as a crisis

ASHLAND, Nebraska — U.S. Rep. Mike Flood said Thursday that he’ll visit the southern U.S. border next week to see first-hand what’s been described to him as a crisis.

“I’ve heard from several congressmen who said you’ve heard about the immigration problem, but when you actually see it … you would be shocked at what a humanitarian crisis it really is,” Flood said.

The Republican congressman said that border security is the top question he is asked by constituents in his eastern Nebraska congressional district. He added that he supports completion of the border wall begun by former President Donald Trump and a greater use of technology to stop the flow of drugs across the border.

Summit of federal legislators

At the annual Federal Legislative Summit, which was co-hosted by the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce as well as the chambers of commerce in Omaha and Lincoln, Representative Flood was one of four of the state’s five congressional members who spoke and fielded questions from attendees.

The event was held at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, and it was attended by around 300 people. Those in attendance included state lawmakers, representatives of corporations, and lobbyists. The passing of a member of Senator Deb Fischer’s family prevented her from being present.

A group conversation was moderated by Bryan Slone, who is the president of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The topic of immigration was the first question that he posed to Senator Ben Sasse of the United States as well as Representatives Flood, Adrian Smith, and Don Bacon.

Slone said that with 52,000 vacant jobs in Nebraska, the lack of workforce is the “number one, two, three, four and five” issues facing the state’s business community.

He asked the elected authorities what actions might be made to alleviate the labor shortage that is related to immigrants and received no clear answers. He highlighted speeding up the process of resettling refugees, increasing the number of people eligible for work visas, and examining the potential for reforms to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

It was noted by all four members of the delegation, who are all Republicans, that beefing up security at the border is extremely important.

Presidential leadership lacking

Sasse said “small” immigration fixes and addressing workforce issues aren’t possible until there’s a framework for broader immigration reform and  “presidential leadership.”

“We’ve had two administration in a row who haven’t, in any serious way, wanted to fix any of this,” Sasse said. “They want to maintain an issue that they want to use for politics.”

Bacon, who is the representative for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District and is located in the Omaha region, has stated that he is in favor of DACA reform, expanded work visas, and greater legal immigration in order to assist the agricultural industry in finding additional employees.

However, according to Bacon, the fact that there are nearly 4 million illegal immigrants crossing the border has created a “toxic” environment for the search for answers.

Smith, who is the representative for California’s 3rd Congressional District, has stated that he is in favor of both expanding the number of legal immigrants and using technology to strengthen border security.

Both Smith and Flood expressed their support for easing the difficulties associated with the legal immigration process and cutting down on wait times for visa applications.

Flood reported that the backlog of applications for legal visas has decreased from 439,000 per month at the beginning of the year to around 388,000 this month; nonetheless, he stated that much further advancement is required.

Fentanyl flowing across border

Flood, who won a special election in June to fill out the remainder of the term of former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, stated that “the crime piece that no one is talking about is the flow of the deadly drug fentanyl from China and then across the border into the United States from Mexico.” Fortenberry had resigned from his seat in the House of Representatives in April of this year. He stated that fentanyl is responsible for overdoses in towns across Nebraska, both large and small, and that it must be stopped.

Flood, a former state senator, made some remarks following the event in which he stated that he is unable to support amnesty or a road to citizenship for immigrants who are in the nation illegally, as well as voting rights and government benefits for immigrants.

“I think at the end of the day, we have to build the wall. We also have to use technology,” he said.

When asked for a comment about Flood’s planned trip to the border, State Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln, his Democratic challenger in the November election, said, Hopefully he comes back with real solutions and this isn’t just a gimmick.”

Related Articles

Back to top button