When will Washington get it? The American public has spoken loudly and clearly. Americans want their borders secured, and they want the problem of illegal immigration handled with swiftness and certainty. Above all, Americans do not support legislative proposals that provide a "pathway to citizenship" for people who have broken the law to enter this country. The public recognizes that a "pathway to citizenship" is just politically correct Washington-speak for "amnesty." And that is a dog that simply will not hunt.
Why do Americans reject giving illegal aliens amnesty? Because the public realizes that this is an issue about preserving the rule of law. It is often said that we are a nation of laws and not of men. Those who promote amnesty for illegal aliens, however, seem to believe that the opposite is true. They seek to define America as a land that will selectively enforce its laws, that will defer to the desires of non-citizens over citizens, and that will provide incentives for people to break the law rather than to abide by it.
This is a vision that is simply wrong. It is a vision that leads to the creation of so-called "sanctuary cities" where the levers of government work not to enforce the law but to protect those who have come here illegally. It is a vision that fails to recognize the drain that the inflow of illegal aliens places on the limited tax dollars that local communities have available to fund vital public services. It is a vision that remains blissfully ignorant of the national security vulnerabilities that we face as a result of our porous borders.
That is why we must work hard to make border security and enforcement of our immigration laws a priority in Congress. My efforts were recently recognized with an "A+" by "Americans for Better Immigration", a non-profit organization that works to lower immigration numbers. In fact, I received the highest score in Congress.
My plan for action includes several components:
First, we must build a border wall along the US-Mexico border, and we must provide the United States Border Patrol with the resources it needs to police the border effectively. There is no doubt in my mind that good border fences make good neighbors.
Second, we must empower states and local communities to enforce immigration law. To this end, I am a cosponsor of the Charlie Norwood CLEAR Act of 2007. This legislation withholds federal funds from "sanctuary cities" and empowers local law enforcement to apprehend and detain illegal aliens.
Third, we must make it easier for employers to screen the citizenship status of potential employees, so that they can make hiring decisions in accordance with what is required of them by law. I am drafting legislation that will allow employers who use a currently existing federal database system, called E-Verify, to do so without fear of facing litigation. It is important that we cut off the economic spigot that draws so many illegal aliens to our country.
Fourth, we must encourage those who come here legally to assimilate. To achieve this, English should be made the official language of the United States. It is wasteful and counterproductive to our development as a "melting pot nation" to encourage linguistic barriers to assimilation.
Finally, we must deport those who are here illegally. They have broken the law by entering the country outside of the manner proscribed by law, and they should not be rewarded with the ability to stay while people who followed the rules are forced to wait years for the same privilege.
If we would begin to take these steps as a nation, we could drastically reduce the number of illegal aliens entering the country and we could regain control of our chaotic borders. It is what the American people want. It is what the American people expect. It is what the American people deserve.