The United States is a nation founded by immigrants and prides itself on the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Obtaining the "American Dream" is an inherent part of our nation's spirit and we should encourage those who enter our country legally to achieve it. However, we are also a nation founded on the rule of law and we must ensure U.S. immigration laws are respected and enforced to preserve our national security; protect federal, state, and local budgets; and curb unfair strain on our country's job markets.
The last time our immigration laws were overhauled was in 1986, when Congress granted amnesty to almost three million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and promised increased border security in the near future. Twenty years later, the number of illegal immigrants in our country has quadrupled, with no end in sight. Rather than repeating the mistakes of our past, I believe Congress must work to secure our nation's borders and enforce the immigration laws already in place. Once this is achieved, improvements to the current system can be considered.
Those who approach our immigration system legally and work through the established process should be welcomed. However, any proposal for reform must not reward those who choose to break our laws by entering the country illegally.