Daily Press - Candidates: How To Address Illegal Immigration
Here are answers from the 1st Congressional District candidates to the question: How should the United States address illegal immigration?
Philip Forgit, Democrat
I believe that securing our borders and enforcing the laws on our books must be the first step to solve the immigration crisis facing our nation.
First, we have to secure our borders north and south. Six years since 9/11 our nation's borders are in a perilous state. This is the job of the Department of Homeland Security and has been neglected so far.
Second, we need to strongly enforce the laws against knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. This will help lessen some of the incentives for people to come here illegally.
I find it incredible that the GOP political machine poses as being tough on immigration since the problem actually got worse when they had all the power in Washington. Virginians are ready for leaders who rise above partisan attacks and find real solutions. That's why I support bipartisan efforts to pass legislation that focuses on increased border patrols, better verification systems and a more efficient visa process to ensure workers are here legally and shield businesses from unknowingly breaking the law, and stepped up workforce enforcement. We need common-sense solutions based on core American values of security, economic growth and justice.
Rob Wittman, Republican
The United States needs to immediately secure our borders. Currently 90 percent of Border Patrol stations are understaffed. Of the 850 miles of border barrier that was approved for construction, only 130 miles has been built. And $1 billion has been appropriated to put biometric systems in place to identify people who come across our borders and only half of the system is operational. This is not the effort necessary to assure our borders are secure. The Congress must take immediate, direct and decisive action to assure our borders are secure.
We must also address the issue of people currently in the country illegally. We cannot grant amnesty to those who have broken the law to come to our country. We must devise an orderly system to address the 12 million plus people who are here illegally.
Additionally we must put in place a system for employers to be able to promptly identify the status of potential employees. This will allow employers to make informed decisions on the legal status of individuals applying for jobs. Once this system is in place, employers must be held accountable for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.
Lucky Narain, Independent
Besides the fact we have people here illegally, more dangerously they exist outside the system. We don't know exactly how many are here so how do we possibly begin to deal with them? We must defend our borders and strengthen national security but we also need to provide the opportunity for those who exist outside the system to come inside and help be part of it. However, for us to permit amnesty is an injustice to legal immigrants who entered properly.
This country offers many wonderful opportunities; this is because of the work of those who came before us allowing these opportunities to exist. Those illegally here want access to these opportunities. For them to have access we must identify them so we know who and how many are here. For those who seek citizenship or a legal work permit, let us then provide avenues where attaining these goals are possible.
If we cut off salaries illegal immigrants receive from businesses, we leave a large segment of population stranded here with few options. This will yield tragic results as many will resort to crime for support.
In Congress I will work to resolve illegal immigration while making our borders strong.