Border security and immigration issues have dominated debate in Washington, D.C. and the country alike. This is one of the most important issues facing Texans right now, and I have been a strong advocate for an "enforcement first" approach.
While I agree that the entire immigration system in our country should be overhauled in the near future, successful immigration policy begins by securing our nation's border. I visited the border a few times in the past years, and I can assure you that we have a serious crisis on the Texas border. Many estimate that up to one thousand illegal immigrants are crossing the U.S./Mexico border every night. Stopping this tidal wave of illegal immigrants must be our first priority. While many come to America for opportunity and a better quality of life, others take advantage of our open borders to peddle drugs, weapons and people. We must know who is entering and exiting our country.
I support the combination of a virtual fence along with an actual fence at points along the border. In less populated areas, unmanned drones, sensors and surveillance cameras could prove to be effective tools in monitoring the border. In limited areas an actual fence would help border patrol agents by slowing down the flow of illegal immigrants crossing the border.
Once we gain control of the border, I believe we must implement an accountable and effective non-citizen worker program. Many of these illegal immigrants perform a role in our economy and, likewise, many businesses count on their participation. This system should have a high threshold of accountability and require that illegal immigrants be employed if they wish to remain in the United States. Previous criminal convictions, or convictions while working in the U.S., should stop illegal immigrants from participating in the system. Furthermore, I do not support an expedited pathway to citizenship through a work program.
I remain strongly opposed to any sort of amnesty program. If you reward illegal immigrants with citizenship, that is amnesty, simply put. I do not believe that illegal immigrants should be rewarded for breaking our laws, while millions of immigrants are waiting in line to become American citizens.
As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, which provides funding for Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, I will continue to push for increased funds to ensure that border security and immigration initiatives receive the support they deserve.
I will also continue to push for initiatives that will allow for a system of 100 percent catch and return.
I have heard the concerns of constituents throughout the District regarding immigration and border security. I remain committed to keeping our borders secure and Americans safe. I have also discussed this issue with members of my Hispanic Advisory Council, and many of them agree we need to fix the crisis on the Texas border.