America is a nation founded and built by immigrants. We have a proud history of reaching out to foreigners and offering refuge and opportunity to those who seek it. Unfortunately, our current immigration system is broken. Today, there are more than 12 million undocumented immigrants residing within our borders.
Both Republicans and Democrats agree that we need to meaningfully reform our immigration system. We need to continue to enforce the laws that we have. We need to make sure that employers are following the law, hiring legal workers, and paying decent wages. We need to target our enforcement efforts to those who repeatedly and knowingly hire illegal immigrants. But we also need to give our employers an affordable, reliable way to verify that the people they are hiring are eligible for work.
The E-Verify program gives employers an avenue to check an employee's name, Social Security number, and date of birth to verify that the employee is legally able to work. While this system is helpful, illegal immigrants can still use fake documentation to claim eligibility. There remain serious problems with this program that will require continued work.
I have supported efforts to boost the enforcement of our immigration laws and enhance patrols of our borders. Our long border with Mexico leaves us especially vulnerable to illegal immigration, but we must find reasonable, effective ways to secure it. We also need to agree on a reasonable way to deal with the 12 million undocumented immigrants already here.
I know that these are sensitive issues, but I believe that Congress needs to have the courage to move forward and solve these problems. I am ready to work on a bipartisan basis to help move this process forward.