America is a beacon of hope for those who seek better lives for themselves and their families. The economic opportunities and the ability to live in freedom are what attract so many to this country. But we must remain a country based on the rule of law. We must have strong borders. The reality is that a porous border makes us vulnerable to terrorists, Weapons of Mass Destruction, cartel violence, and human trafficking. Having lived in California my entire life I fully understand the implications of weak borders. It is estimated that in Los Angeles County alone, illegal immigrants cost taxpayers $1 billion per year.
First and foremost, I do not support amnesty for those that entered the country illegally. I strongly believe that individuals who came here illegally should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, not rewarded for their actions. However, I understand that our immigration system needs reform. I believe that we need to reform the path to citizenship to make it more enticing to come to America legally. We should be doing our best to retain immigrants who come to America for a superior education and then decide not to stay. We need to examine the "anchor baby" policy and must fully comprehend the message we are sending to individuals considering entering the country illegally.
As the House health care bill was being debated late in 2009, I offered an amendment to the Rules Committee that would have barred illegal immigrants from participating in any federal health program; be it Medicaid, Medicare, or any new benefit derived from a Democratic health care bill. My amendment was denied by Democrats on the Rules Committee. I have been a strong supporter of numerous legislative efforts that cover every angle of illegal immigration. I have cosponsored H.R 997, the English Language Unity Act, a bill that would make English the official language of the United States. I am a cosponsor of H.R. 140, the Birthright Citizenship Act, which would end the practice of giving automatic citizenship to "anchor babies,' those that are born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants.
I have fought to strengthen our borders by adding thousands of Border Patrol agents, funding the construction of over 700 miles of fence along the southern border, and cutting bureaucratic red tape to do what is necessary to protect our national security. Additionally, I fought to restore full-funding for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, of which President Obama proposed cutting to "zero' in the current fiscal year.
I will continue to vigorously support efforts to strengthen our borders, stop amnesty, and reform our legal immigration system.