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March 14, 2013

Congressman Graves Hoping to SAVE the Border

Scotland County Sheriff Wayne Winn discusses imigration issues with Congressman Sam Graves during a recent meeting in Memphis.

Secure the border and then simply let law enforcement do their job. That's how U.S. Representative Sam Graves wants to answer the immigration issue.

"Our primary goal in any immigration plan should be to control and defend our borders," Graves told a full house at Keith's Cafe in Memphis on March 8th. "This is an important responsibility of the Federal government and we are not doing enough, as made evident by the over 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country."

The congressman discussed his Secure America with Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act (H.R. 830) as well as other issues with local constituents during a stop in Memphis.

"Our government must do everything possible to ensure the American workforce consists of legal workers, especially during these tough economic times, which is why my bill includes improvements to E-Verify," Graves stated.

Scotland County Sheriff Wayne Winn explained a pair of recent traffic stops with Graves, highlighting the fact that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) refused to take custody of the individuals detained by the sheriff's office despite the fact they had no proper identification, because there were no other criminal charges against them.

"Yes it's a very frustrating situation sheriff," said Graves. "It is illegal for them to be in the country, but local law enforcement agencies are not being allowed to enforce the laws already on the books."

The SAVE ACT would increase the number of border patrol agents as well as ICE officers, which Graves hopes will allow immigration laws to be better enforced.

By making E-Verify mandatory, the representative added that employers will have no excuse not to know who they are hiring. He noted that the inexpensive system has been proved effective by more than 20,000 employers who currently voluntarily utilize the system.

Graves also highlighted the work the Small Business Committee is doing under his leadership. During the last Congress in 2011 and 2012, the Committee held 90 hearings and roundtables to both keep the Small Business Administration (SBA) and other Federal agencies accountable and improve and streamline resources available for entrepreneurs.

The Committee will be holding several hearings this month to explore how to best reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses and examine inefficiencies and duplication across Federal entrepreneurial assistance programs to save taxpayer dollars.

"As Chairman of the Small Business Committee, I talk to small businesses and hear about their challenges every single day," Graves, a farmer and small business owner himself, said. "Small businesses create 7 out of every 10 jobs in the United States. If we are going to turn our economy around and create jobs, we need healthy small businesses. The government does not create jobs, but we can help set the table for economic growth."

Graves also stressed accountability, noting that agency bureaucrats do not answer to the same statutory authority as lawmakers. He noted that the expanded power of government agencies is allowing the current administration to bypass Congress, adding that many agencies are ignoring requirements to explain the impact and costs of new regulations before they are enacted.

"It definitely appears like many of these agencies are simply revenue mining," Graves stated. "Unfortunately about all we can do right now is to regulate the agencies' funding, which impacts their ability to enforce the regulations."

Such punitive financial moves aren't the answer for the budget crisis according to the congressman.

"Obviously there are going to have to be some budget cuts," Graves told the crowd. "This government spending is unsustainable. We cannot ignore the cumulative effects of annual deficit spending."

Budget costs can and will be made in discretionary spending, but Graves pointed to the costs of mandatory budget items, such as entitlements, that also must be considered.

"We have to have some entitlement reform," Graves stated. He noted that food stamp expenditures have recently tripled.

"It is not that there are that many more people who need them, but the fact that the administration has changed the eligibility, making that many more people are eligible for the government program," said Graves.

He suggested turning the food stamps program over to the states.

"The federal government cannot do it," he said. "The states know who needs food stamps. They can manage it much better."

Another entitlement cost concern addressed by the congressman was health care under new federal guidelines. Graves noted that the cost of Obamacare is continuing to rise, with projections already rising from an initial figure of $900 billion now to more than $1.5 trillion for implementation of the laws.

Receiving those bigger bills may be a problem in the future, as Graves addressed questions about the future of the United States Postal Service.

"The postal system is antonymous of government authority," Graves said. "The problem is not at the local level, it is at the top where the administration appears to be doing what they want to do, regardless of our concerns."

The congressman was referring to his official House Resolution 137 that was co-sponsored by more than 200 U.S. representatives urging the USPS to take all appropriate measures to ensure the continuation of its 6-day mail delivery service.

The UPSP announced earlier this year that Saturday delivery of mail will end later this summer.

"My concern is how far will it go," Graves said. "Will they cut it to service just three days a week or even just one day a week?"

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