America is a nation of immigrants. We are not a nation bound by ethnicity, but one bound by the pristine idea that all people are endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is why our ancestors came to America and why so many today wait in line to come to our shores. Welcoming newcomers who share our ideals and work hard to secure a better life for themselves and their families is part of our heritage. A strong legal immigration system is an integral component of what makes America exceptional.
But today, our immigration system is broken.
A porous border allows illegal immigrants to enter the United States, violent cartel members and terrorists possibly among them. Certain states and municipalities grant benefits to illegal immigrants that act as magnets that draw illegal immigrants across the border. At the same time that unskilled workers are able to come here illegally, we do not grant enough visas to high-skill job creators and innovators seeking to come here legally. The system requires us to send away the great majority of the over 300,000 foreign students who are earning advanced degrees at U.S. universities. And it is too difficult for businesses to secure visas for foreign workers to make up for labor shortages and gaps in skills.
President Obama has failed to solve our immigration problems. Indeed, he has failed even to address them. As a candidate for president, he promised to tackle immigration in his first year in office. He broke that promise, and has since only made our problems worse.
President Obama has done nothing to improve our visa system to bring in more high-skill job creators and innovators. Our system still turns away even those foreign students whom we educate here and to whom we grant advanced degrees.
President Obama has utterly failed to secure the border. And instead of taking a strong stand on illegal immigration, he has ordered immigration officials to enforce immigration laws "selectively," leading to the dismissal of many deportation cases. At the same time, his Department of Justice has sued to stop states from assisting the federal government in enforcing immigration laws.
Mitt Romney believes that legal immigration is a boon to America. He will strengthen our immigration system so that it benefits the U.S. economy, ensures our security, bolsters the rule of law, and carries on America's tradition as a nation of legal immigrants.
Attract the Best and Brightest
To ensure that America continues to lead the world in innovation and economic dynamism, a Romney administration would press for an immigration policy designed to maximize America's economic potential. The United States needs to attract and retain job creators from wherever they come. Foreign-born residents with advanced degrees start companies, create jobs, and drive innovation at an especially high rate. While lawful immigrants comprise about 8 percent of the population, immigrants start 16 percent of our top-performing, high-technology companies, hold the position of CEO or lead engineer in 25 percent of high-tech firms, and produce over 25 percent of all patent applications filed from the United States.
* * Raise visa caps for highly skilled workers
* * Grant permanent residency to eligible graduates with advanced degrees in math, science, and engineering
A Strong Stand Against Illegal Immigration
Mitt Romney will protect legal immigration and the 4.5 million who are waiting in line to enter the United States legally by taking a strong stand against illegal immigration. He believes that illegal immigration must end and has a proven track record of advancing that goal.
* Secure The Border
Mitt Romney will complete a high-tech fence and provide the necessary number of border patrol to finally secure our southern border.
* Turn Off The Magnets
Mitt Romney opposes all "magnets" that entice illegal immigrants to come to our country illegally and stay here. He will establish a tamper-proof employment verification system like E-Verify that will enable employers to hire only those legally permitted to work and deny jobs to those here illegally. This will turn off the jobs magnet that attracts so many unskilled workers to cross the border illegally or overstay their visas.
Mitt also opposes all other magnets. As governor, he vetoed in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants and opposed driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.
* Enforce The Law
Mitt Romney believes in the rule of law and will fully enforce federal immigration law. As governor, he authorized state police to assist the federal government in immigration enforcement.
* Oppose Amnesty
Mitt Romney opposes amnesty because he believes that it acts as a magnet encouraging illegal immigration. The last amnesty law passed in 1986 granted legal status to 2.7 million illegal immigrants. In the decades since, the illegal immigrant population has quadrupled. Mitt believes that an amnesty should not be permitted to happen again. Illegal immigrants who apply for legal status should not be given any advantage over those who are following the law and waiting their turn. Mitt absolutely opposes any policy that would allow illegal immigrants to "cut in line.