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Public Statements

Enforcement Must Come First, But Amnesty Never

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Enforcement Must Come First, But Amnesty Never

Bob Hope, Mario Andretti, Liz Claiborne and William Shatner. What do these famous Americans have in common? They were not always Americans; they all immigrated legally to the United States. I've long said that our country is great because of immigration, not in spite of it.

However, another thing that makes our country great is the rule of law. If you steal a car, you will be punished in a way that will make you not want to do it again. Legalizing 12 million people who have broken the law sends the wrong message. There is a legal and right way to immigrate into this country, but illegal immigrants are here illegally.

We need to think enforcement first. You cannot be serious about protecting the homeland when you don't even control your own border. It is porous. Before any plan could work, we have to control it. I will continue to support whatever it takes to get control of the border. In high traffic areas, we need to build a fence. We also need to increase the border patrol along the entire southern border. We've made progress, but it's not yet secure.

You also cannot be serious about fixing our immigration system when your answer is to reward those who have broken the law. Simply granting them amnesty will only invite more illegal aliens into the country. We tried that in 1986, it didn't work then and it won't work now.

The belief that all 12 million illegal immigrants will show up at a federal courthouse to sign up for a special visa and pay a fine is silly. Some will, but the vast majority (including those involved in illicit activities) will not voluntarily turn themselves into law enforcement.

Does anyone really believe that immigrants will work here for two years, go home for a year, return for two years and then go home again as this legislation proposes? Only someone inside the 17 square miles of logic free environment called Washington D.C. could seriously believe that is a solution.

This country has a long and proud history of being open to immigrants, but it has to be legal immigration. If we need to increase the number of visas so that we have enough workers, so be it, but let's do it legally.

I will vote against this bill because it is amnesty and because it will not work. We must secure the border, enforce the laws on the books and begin deporting those who are here illegally.


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