Efforts are currently underway to revive stalled immigration legislation in the U.S. Senate and bring it to a vote before the congressional recess in early July. Despite President Bush’s endorsement of the bill, which favors strong border security among other provisions, Republican Congresswoman Sue Myrick of North Carolina tells Carol Castiel of VOA News Now’s Press Conference USA that she and many of her Republican colleagues are opposed to it. She says it is necessary to secure the border with Mexico before considering any provisions for eventual citizenship for the 12 million people who have already crossed the border illegally. Even if the bill passes the Senate, Congresswoman Myrick is doubtful that the House of Representatives will approve it.
Congresswoman Myrick calls immigration the “most upsetting issue” that she has seen in her 13 years as a member of Congress. She says that it is a priority issue in her state of North Carolina, which has the fastest growing Hispanic population in the country.” Congresswoman Myrick says she thinks that people who have broken the law to enter the United States should not be rewarded with citizenship, which she says constitutes “amnesty.” But she says temporary worker programs are needed in certain industries, such as construction and agriculture. The congresswoman says everybody knows that the problem needs to be dealt with, but the way President Bush has been approaching immigration reform is “wrong.”
Congresswoman Myrick is a member of President Bush’s “Working Group on Iraq.” And after the 2004 elections she formed bipartisan “Anti-Terrorism Jihad Caucus” of 109 members with a view to better understanding the radical Islamist ideology that underpins much of the terrorism around the world. Regarding Iraq, Congresswoman Myrick says she opposes the idea of “time lines” and she considers it is “quite possible” that the U.S. military will need to be in Iraq for a “long time,” just as it has been in Korea. At this point, she argues, U.S. troops are primarily trying to provide “backup and training” for Iraqi troops, although whether or not that strategy will work is unclear.
As a member of the Energy Subcommittee in the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Myrick thinks the “first thing” America needs to do is to increase its supply of energy and thereby become less dependent on foreign sources. She says she is a strong supporter of developing alternative fuel supplies such as hydrogen, bio-diesels, and ethanol. She believes it is a mistake not to take advantage of U.S. supplies in the Arctic, which many environmentalists oppose. She says she also supports nuclear energy, which is now “very safe” and does not contribute to greenhouse gasses.
Congresswoman Myrick calls health care a very large “domestic priority.” She says she favors states setting up “risk pools” to help people who cannot afford medical insurance and expanding community health centers.
Congresswoman Sue Myrick formerly served as chair of the “Republican Study Committee,” a group in the House of Representatives dedicated to advancing a conservative economic and social agenda for America. Of all the Republican candidates at this point, she says, she is leaning toward Fred Thompson.
For full audio of the program Press Conference USA click here.