Today it is estimated that over 12 million illegal immigrants are living within the United States with an additional 300,000 crossing our borders each year. Clearly, the current immigration system is broken.
I strongly believe that efforts to stop illegal immigration must begin by securing borders. Now, more than five years after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, we still lack the manpower and resources to stop the flow of unauthorized intruders into our country. That is why I support proposals to increase the number of border patrol agents, as well as increased funding for the technology and equipment necessary for these agents to prevent people from entering our country illegally.
However, border enforcement alone will not solve the problem. Each year thousands of undocumented workers enter the United States in search of employment opportunities. Although it is against the law to knowingly hire undocumented workers, the incentives of cheap labor combined with the lax enforcement of employment laws have encouraged many employers to hire illegal immigrants. As a result, we must improve the workplace enforcement of our employment laws.
Although a solution will inevitably require bipartisan support, I will oppose any proposal that amounts to amnesty or rewards illegal behavior. The United States has a rich tradition built upon the hard work of immigrant citizens from all over the world, and we welcome legal immigration. Out of respect for our laws and those who have followed them, I will continue to work hard to ensure that American citizenship is reserved for those who play by the rules.