First and foremost, any immigration reform must begin with border security. Establishing operational control of our borders, which means preventing illegal border crossings and documenting the entry and exit of all aliens coming into the country, is a necessary precondition to more comprehensive immigration reform to deal with the nearly 12 million people already residing in the U.S. illegally.
In the House, I have cosponsored legislation that I believe represents the proper approach to immigration reform by focusing on border security and immigration enforcement. I support immediately improving the strength of our borders by increasing the number U.S. Border Patrol agents by as much as 18,000. I also support ensuring that illegal's are not taking American jobs by creating an employment eligibility verification system, reforming the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program, and cracking down on the fraudulent use of identification documents by illegal aliens.
The current H-2A temporary guest worker program, which allows seasonal agricultural laborers to receive temporary U.S. work visas, makes sense as long as the guidelines of the program are properly enforced. This program is extremely important to the agricultural community in Michigan, which relies on seasonal labor to fill jobs Americans simply will not take. However, any temporary worker program must ensure that laborers return to their home country upon visa expiration and do not remain in the U.S. illegally.
Lastly, I believe so-called "sanctuary cities" are a major problem. I am a cosponsor of the CLEAR Act, which would empower state and local law enforcement officials in assisting in immigration enforcement duties and providing the funds necessary to support this task. The bill also attempts to end sanctuary cities by denying certain Department of Justice funding to localities with a policy of prohibiting law enforcement from assisting with immigration enforcement.