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Sen. Scott outlines priorities to DHS, cites China’s ‘exploitation of American academic institutions’ as concern

Florida senator, Rick Scott (R-FL) has outlined his priorities to Department of Homeland...
Florida senator, Rick Scott (R-FL) has outlined his priorities to Department of Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, in an effort to “enhance national security and advance American interests,” according to the release.(WCTV)
Published: Feb. 20, 2021 at 4:42 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) has outlined his priorities to Department of Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, in an effort to “enhance national security and advance American interests,” according to the release.

The senator expressed his concern about the “exploitation of American academic institutions and our visa system,” from China, saying that “The United States has the world’s finest universities and we should be proud that these institutions are the envy of the world.”

He encouraged work and collaboration with those from across the globe but that “we must also accept that there are bad actors, specifically members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chinese military, who seek to infiltrate these systems and inflict harm. We must actively work to identify and mitigate threats from all foreign enemies, namely Communist China. I expect DHS to thoroughly vet all Chinese students to ensure we are not allowing CCP members and military operatives to access our academic institutions, as well as all foreign nationals whose country of origin is an enemy of the United States.”

The senator also referenced his experiences as Florida’s governor and now as a state senator in which he saw, firsthand, “the incredible contribution that legal immigration has made to American innovation and our unique culture.” Because of this, he asked Mayorkas to ensure “legal immigration into the United States, following and enforcing all immigration laws, protecting legal permanent residents and U.S. citizens, and supporting the brave members of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) must be top priorities.”

Sen. Scott also mentioned that he is “gravely concerned” about President Joe Biden’s plans regarding United States borders and amnesty, saying, it “has already led to a notable increase of apprehensions and illegal crossings at our Southern border.”

Sen. Scott’s full letter can be read below:

Dear Secretary Mayorkas,

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me last month about your priorities for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). I appreciate discussing the Biden Administration’s views on securing the Southern border, ensuring legal immigration, finding a long-term solution for individuals in our country on Temporary Protected Status (TPS), stemming the influx of illegal immigration, and addressing the threat of Communist China.

As Governor and now U.S. Senator for Florida, I have seen firsthand the incredible contribution that legal immigration has made to American innovation and our unique culture. We must continue to welcome those seeking to live their dreams in our country, but it has to be done legally. In your new role as DHS Secretary, ensuring legal immigration into the United States, following and enforcing all immigration laws, protecting legal permanent residents and U.S. citizens, and supporting the brave members of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) must be top priorities.

As we discussed prior to your confirmation, I remain gravely concerned by President Biden’s plan of open borders and amnesty, which has already led to a notable increase of apprehensions and illegal crossings at our Southern border. These policies do not represent practical reforms, but are a dangerous move that hurts American families, kills jobs, and places the countless individuals working their way through the legal immigration system at a distinct disadvantage. We can and must do better.

Recently, I announced that I will soon be filing a bill that provides a permanent solution to the many people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and that would provide tens of billions of dollars in long-term funding for our Southern border wall and border security personnel. We also must find a long-term solution for TPS – especially for those who have fled the brutal Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela. I have tried to pass legislation on the Senate Floor multiple times that would immediately grant TPS to Venezuelans and make much needed reforms to the program, but Senate Democrats have repeatedly blocked it. The political games must stop, and I urge you to join me in this important work to tackle these critical issues.

DHS also has a critical role to play in combatting the unacceptable behavior and aggression of Communist China, which presents a serious threat to the security and wellbeing of the United States. Today, General Secretary Xi continues his reprehensible genocide of the Uyghurs, forcing thousands into slave labor and the brutal conditions of imprisonment in concentration camps. DHS has the power to take an unequivocal stance against Communist China’s oppression and work to stem the flow of imported goods into the U.S. that are produced through slave labor. I urge you to acknowledge this and take immediate action to stand for human rights, protect American interests, and hold companies who profit from forced labor accountable.

I also want to draw your attention to Communist China’s exploitation of American academic institutions and our visa system. The United States has the world’s finest universities and we should be proud that these institutions are the envy of the world. While encouraging their work and collaboration with scholars across the globe, we must also accept that there are bad actors, specifically members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chinese military, who seek to infiltrate these systems and inflict harm. We must actively work to identify and mitigate threats from all foreign enemies, namely Communist China. I expect DHS to thoroughly vet all Chinese students to ensure we are not allowing CCP members and military operatives to access our academic institutions, as well as all foreign nationals whose country of origin is an enemy of the United States.

There are few issues facing the United States today that require more urgent attention than securing our border, fixing America’s broken immigration system and combatting the threat of Communist China. I hope we are able to work together to address these issues, enhance the security of our nation and advance American interests.

Sincerely,

Rick Scott

United States Senator

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