Pete Gallego: Inviting Speaker Boehner to the border

On Tuesday, I sent a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, a Republican, inviting him to come to Texas and visit the U.S.-Mexico border where he can meet local community leaders and law enforcement personnel and learn about the ongoing influx of Central American immigrants at our southern border. 

Why Speaker Boehner and not the President, you ask? That’s easy: think back to the old “Schoolhouse Rock” song about how a bill becomes a law. The President just signs bills into law. He is then also charged with enforcing them.
 
However, Congress passes the laws. Speaker Boehner is the leader of the people’s House – the part of Congress closest to the people. Any change in current law must be approved by the House – and no one in the House has more influence than John Boehner.

As someone who serves in the legislative branch, I believe the legislative branch can and should be a force to be reckoned with. It is a co-equal branch of government.

But, it isn’t because it can never agree on anything (the recent VA bill compromise is a long overdue exception). Frankly, border security should not be a partisan issue. It’s a national security issue where we should come together – Republicans and Democrats – and work toward a solution that is meaningful. 

The bills in the House last week didn’t address the root causes of the current influx of Central American immigrants coming into the country. They were written at the 11th hour and didn’t provide a real solution.

 The Republicans didn’t negotiate with the Democrats, the House didn’t negotiate with the Senate, and no one negotiated with the White House. 
These bills had no chance of becoming law. In fact, the House didn’t even pass its bill until after the Senate had left town and it was too late for the bill to be considered.

Even reporters and lobbyists were perplexed at the House’s desire to pass such one-sided bills that weren’t going anywhere.

Those of us on the border – and all Americans – deserve a real resolution to this crisis. It was once said that even the longest journey begins with a first step. Someone has to reach across the aisle sometime. It is my fervent hope that Speaker Boehner will accept my invitation and work with those of us on the border region for the benefit of all our country.

In the meantime, if you see me driving around South or West Texas in the next several weeks, please stop me to say hi. I’ll be running around our district all month long. Remember, you can also always call, e-mail or visit our offices by going to www.gallego.house.gov. See you soon. 

U.S. Representative Pete P. Gallego, D-Alpine, represents the 23rd District of Texas, which includes all or parts of 29 counties in southwest Texas, stretching from San Antonio to El Paso. He serves on the House Armed Services and House Agriculture Committees.