We are blessed by being a nation of immigrants, but there should be no place for those who violate U.S. law by coming to here illegally.
Our nation's immigration laws need to be thoroughly reviewed and extensively changed. However, first and foremost, we need to enforce our existing immigration laws and take all necessary steps to secure our borders.
Since my earliest days in Congress, I have been active in the effort to secure our borders. Back then, I voted for the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-208) to reduce the number of legal immigrants admitted and to increase sanctions against those who enter our country illegally. I also supported efforts to end welfare and food stamp benefits for non-citizens (P.L. 104-193).
Regrettably, it took the horrific events of September 11, 2001 to draw the nation's attention to the glaring shortcomings in our immigration enforcement system. Since that time, however, I have strongly supported several pieces of important legislation: the USA-Patriot Act, the Real ID Act, e-Verify, the Border Security Act, the VISA Reform Act, and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) overhaul.
Recently, there has been significant media coverage about Senate Bill (SB) 1070, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act passed in Arizona.
SB 1070 makes it a state misdemeanor crime for an alien to be in Arizona without carrying registration documents required by federal law. Further, the law requires that the law enforcement officers attempt to determine a person's immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal alien, during a legal police stop for some other offense.
It is important to note that much of the new Arizona law is already embodied in federal law! In particular, noncitizens have always been required to carry their immigration documentation since the enactment of the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act.
I have always supported full enforcement of our nation's immigration laws. Further, I believe that our country's top priority must be border security and I strongly oppose amnesty.
While Congress has not undertaken "comprehensive immigration reform," I have worked to provide funding to strengthen our borders.
Please know that I will continue to work to close our borders and ensure that existing immigration laws are fully enforced!