This country has a long history of accepting immigrants from all over the world and offering them the potential to pursue a better life. Immigrants leave their homeland with visions of freedom and opportunity. America offers the rights, duties, and dignity not seen anywhere else in the world.
In light of the September 11 attacks, the need for immigration reform has come to the forefront of national security. While I am generally opposed to increasing levels of immigration into the U.S., I think the real emphasis needs to be placed on stopping illegal immigration.
I will continue to vigilantly monitor the pressing problem of illegal immigration and what can be done to curb its effect upon our nation. I believe that we must do all that is possible to stop illegal immigration. There is still much progress to be made and I am committed to working to enact measures that will effectively solve this problem.
In December of 2005, the House passed a thorough immigration reform bill (H.R. 4437) that was an important and decisive step toward enforcement of our current immigration laws. This bill gave increased power to the Director of Homeland Security to enforce our current laws, an important move toward enhancing our national security and ensuring that tax dollars from hard working citizens do not end up benefiting illegal immigrants. Some other key components of the legislation were increased accountability for employers who hire illegal aliens, along with language calling for the construction of close to 700 miles of secure fence along our southern border.
Many of my colleagues in the House agree with this "enforcement first" approach, knowing full well that if we do not take steps to secure our border then other methods of addressing immigration will be useless. We were saddened to see the Senate not only consider amnesty provisions, but also provisions allowing citizenship for the nearly 12 million illegal immigrants currently residing within our borders. That misguided approach not only forgives criminals; it rewards them. I find this stance on illegal immigration both wrong and unacceptable, and will continue to fight for the House immigration reform bill and reject any provisions from the Senate or elsewhere that allow amnesty for illegal immigrants. The taxpayers of this nation deserve better, and it is my commitment to see that they receive it.