Our nation was founded and built by immigrants "yearning to breathe free." I believe we should continue building on that proud tradition by welcoming newcomers into our nation while insisting that they learn and follow our language, laws, and history.
The federal government is directly responsible for enforcing existing laws to secure our borders and ensure the safe and legal movement of people, goods, and commerce across our borders. I have been successful in pushing a zero tolerance program that is dramatically reducing crime and illegal immigration along our southern border (see chart below). Under this strict enforcement policy, everyone caught crossing the border illegally is arrested, prosecuted, and jailed for up to six months. I helped to implement the program in the Laredo Border Patrol Sector recently and I am working to expand it from Brownsville to San Diego.
I am strongly opposed to amnesty for illegal immigrants. Respect for the rule of law is a hallmark of our democracy, and one of the reasons America has the largest immigrant population in the world. We must work to streamline and improve our visa system so that people who want to come to our country legally through the proper channels are able to do so without unnecessary delays. As a member of the Immigration Reform Caucus, I am working with my colleagues to overhaul our visa system.
I also believe that employers should be required to verify the legal status of all employees using the national e-verify database. This requirement will reduce the incentive for illegal immigration and provide employers with the information they need to hire legal, documented workers.