I am writing in response to The News-Times Sept. 5 editorial ("Playing up to Athens crowd hurts our future"). The editorial mentioned two topics that interest residents of the 10th District: illegal immigration and highway construction. I hope you will allow me to share my thoughts on these topics.
The Sept. 5 editorial mentioned that my colleague, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, is charging forward with former Rep. Charlie Norwood's "Clear Law Enforcement for Removal of Criminal Illegal Aliens (CLEAR) Act." The editorial failed to mention that she and I have worked together to reintroduce this legislation, which has been renamed the "Charlie Norwood CLEAR Act of 2007." In fact, I am the first member of Congress to have co-sponsored the bill.
The CLEAR Act is an important bill that will strengthen state, local and federal efforts to enforce the nation's immigration laws. It contains tough, commonsense provisions such as: increased federal detention space; the denial of State Criminal Alien Assistance Program funding to so-called "sanctuary cities"; and requirements that the federal government remove and deport criminal aliens. Passage of this legislation would represent a major victory against illegal immigration and would serve as a great addition to Norwood's legacy. I am proud to join with Blackburn in offering this bill.
The editorial also brought up the I-3 interstate project in a context which might mislead a reader who was unaware that I support the creation of a North-South highway corridor from Augusta. I believe that a North-South highway corridor will encourage further economic development in the CSRA. Further, I have long maintained that we should achieve this worthy goal in a cost-effective manner.
As a steward of taxpayer money, I believe that some proposals, such as widening Georgia 17 to four lanes and running it south from Habersham County to I-20, or running an interstate connection from Augusta to Greenville, South Carolina, might make more sense and should be considered. Unlike the backers of the I-3 proposal, I am not convinced that we need to spend the huge amounts of money it would take to build new roads over and through the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
It is a privilege to represent the people of the 10th District on these and other important issues.
U.S. Rep. Paul C. Broun
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