Questions about undocumented immigrants and illegal immigration were the focus of US Rep. Fred Keller’s (R-Pa.-12) recent Tele Town Hall on Tuesday.
Keller expressed concern over recent reports that several federal planes carrying undocumented immigrants had landed at Wilkes-Barre Scranton Scranton/Wilkes-Barre International Airport. Keller focused his dismay on the fact that many of the immigrants in question were unaccompanied minors at risk of human trafficking. Keller said he and U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Pa.-9) have reached out to ICE, Health and Human Services and the Border Patrol and are working towards accountability and ensuring administrative lines of where these resettled immigrants are being housed You arrive at the border.
A caller brought up a current hostage situation in Texas involving a British national who arrived in New York last month and asked, “What do we do if we don’t screen these individuals?” Keller responded that he and several Republican colleagues traveled to the border and spoke to local law enforcement to determine what they needed to do to combat immigration. Keller accused the Biden administration of halting certain Trump administration programs, such as building the border wall, because of the recent surge in immigration numbers.
Praising the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that struck down Biden’s mandate for companies with more than 100 employees to mandate the COVID vaccination, Keller repeatedly mentioned that government accountability and responsibility is a core tenet of his platform.
Keller also addressed several infrastructure issues, particularly funding for rural broadband deployment. In rural areas like Keller’s neighborhood, a lack of reliable internet has long been an issue. Keller replied, “There’s already federal money that’s been set aside for this. It’s a matter of commitment.” Additionally, Keller highlighted the efforts of the Bradford County Progress Authority and its Middle Mile program, which has installed fiber optic cable to expand broadband access to more rural locations in the county by providing broadband providers with the basic infrastructure will.
“When we talk about infrastructure, we’re not just talking about roads and bridges and things you see. It’s things you don’t see, like fresh water, water treatment, the internet, and natural gas lines,” Keller explained.
Looking ahead, Keller said he and his Republican counterparts would focus on rebuilding the economy, with a focus on mineral harvesting and “freeing government” from private enterprise. Keller also raised his proposed legislation, the CHOICE Act, which would make federal PELL grants available to students pursuing two-year college tenure and short-term professional programs. The CHOICE Act has been supported by both Republicans and Democrats. Another bipartisan piece of legislation he mentioned was that of US Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.-7), the Nurses Care Act, which allows long-term care professionals to use the hours of work accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic for their Use requirements for accreditation.
In conclusion, Keller thanked all participants for “giving me the opportunity to bring the Pa. 12 values to Washington DC”.