Since our founding, the United States has been a beacon of hope for immigrants. We have welcomed people like my great-grandparents, who came to our shores in search of religious freedom and the opportunity for a better life for their family. It is our immigrant experience and our diversity as a nation that has set us apart, making America the land of innovation as well as the land of opportunity.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
I believe that our current immigration system is broken and the need for reform has never been so great. In 2007, the U.S. Senate came close to passing much-needed comprehensive immigration reform. While we still may not agree on each individual provision, we have now seen the consequences of inaction. Shortly after partisan bickering derailed comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level, Colorado was forced to confront the challenges of immigration at the state level.
Both as a member of the Colorado Board of Education and as a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, I spoke out against Colorado House Bill 1023, which restricted most non-emergency services for undocumented immigrants and empowered local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law at a state level. As a member of Congress, however, I recognize that in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform, state and local governments may feel compelled to act in place of the federal government.
In order to create true, long-lasting reform, I feel we must set and achieve the following objectives:
Bring People Out of the Shadows:
In order to create real, long-lasting reform, we must create a pathway to legal status for the millions of undocumented immigrants who have made lives for themselves and their families in the United States. It is essential for our national security to know who resides within our borders.
Secure our Borders:
It does not serve our national security to allow unlawful immigration. While I disagree with legislation that builds a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, I feel that increasing the number of border patrol agents at both the Mexican and Canadian border will allow us to slow unlawful migration and more effectively apprehend those who threaten our national security through drug trafficking, arms trafficking and human smuggling.
Create more pathways to legal immigration:
In order to reduce unlawful immigration, we must create greater legal channels to immigrate to the United States. Both our employment-based immigration and family-based immigration systems create obstacles that are often insurmountable for business owners who depend on foreign workers and families long separated by borders. By reforming our laws and addressing the needs of the business community and immigrant families, we can and will stem the tide of unlawful immigration and protect our national security.
As the Representative for the Second Congressional District, I will proudly support comprehensive immigration reform and other legislation that will improve our immigration system.