Our dysfunctional immigration policy is shameful, and Congress must act quickly to pursue comprehensive immigration reform. Our borders are not secure and we have 12 million undocumented workers living in the shadows. Congress must act to secure our borders not only through increased vigilance and permeation of technology, but also through a commitment to assist in the vigorous economic development of Latin America. We must also crack down on employers who violate our immigration and employment laws, undermining working conditions for all Americans. As long as there is a paying job on the other side, people desperate for economic opportunity will cross our borders illegally.
Comprehensive immigration reform must include a practical and humane approach to the 12 million undocumented immigrants who either entered our country illegally or who overstayed their visas. The most viable way to encourage undocumented workers to come out of the shadows is to offer an earned path to citizenship for those who obey the law, work hard, and pay taxes. Law-abiding, hardworking, and tax-paying immigrants should be assessed a meaningful penalty, and should be allowed to go to the "back of the line" for citizenship.
I vigorously oppose Chris Shays' proposed "solution" to the immigration crisis, a "blue card" program which would combine the worst of all available options, allowing full amnesty for undocumented aliens, but creating a permanent immigrant worker underclass who would forever be denied the hope of citizenship and who would forever remain marginalized in American society. A two-tiered society is not what our founding fathers had in mind.