Our nation’s current immigration system is broken. We have not made major changes to our immigration laws since 1986, and we must address this situation before it worsens. The number of foreign-born residents in the United States is at the highest level in U.S. history. In the past 50 years, the number of foreign-born residents of the United States has gone from just under 10 million in 1960 to 40 million in 2010.
We must solve the illegal immigration problem by first securing our borders. When our borders are left open, it allows criminals, drug traffickers and potentially even terrorists to enter the country. I support doing what is needed to secure the borders until we have firm control over who enters our nation. Specifically, I support requiring the Secretary of Homeland Security to certify to Congress that the United States has operational control over its southern border. This has to be the first step in the process of fixing our immigration system. We must authorize and deploy more border security personnel and technology and have border-states work closely together to ensure we are maximizing all of our efforts.
I am absolutely against amnesty. We cannot reward bad behavior by granting citizenship to those who broke the law and came here illegally. In 1986 our immigration laws were amended by giving millions of illegal immigrants amnesty in exchange for more secure borders. Unfortunately the amnesty came but our borders were not secured; we cannot make this same mistake again.
We must also designate any members of criminal gangs as inadmissible to the United States and deny any chance at citizenship. Additionally, any immigrant with a serious criminal background should be denied entry and any chance at citizenship. Becoming a citizen of the United States of American is a privilege, not a right, and should be taken seriously by those who seek it and those who grant it.
We must also require those who came here illegally to go to the “back of the line” behind those who are going through the legal immigration process. Those who have committed fraud, such as using a false social security number, or who have done anything to “get around” the legal system should be denied citizenship.
I believe in legal, regulated, and appropriate levels of immigration. America is a nation of immigrants. Our forefathers immigrated to this land in search of freedom from tyranny and oppression, and immigration has remained a prominent feature of American society throughout the history of our nation. America is an attractive nation for immigrants to come build families, conduct scientific research, create businesses, and prosper as members of our vibrant communities.