I understand that our nation's immigration policy is fundamentally flawed. Securing our borders must be our top priority as we seek to preserve a nation defined by liberty, the rule of law, and economic success. As a nation founded by those seeking freedom, we ought to welcome the downtrodden and oppressed with clearly defined, firmly established legal immigration processes. Any effective policy dealing with illegal immigration must uphold the rule of law and focus on strengthening border security in order to halt the flow of illegal aliens. I am strongly committed to securing our border, stopping illegal immigration, and ensuring the safety of all Americans.
A compassionate solution for the illegal immigrant population living and working in the United States can be accomplished without resorting to amnesty. I cannot support a policy which rewards the criminal behavior of violating America's immigration laws. Current illegal immigrants should not receive all the rights and privileges they would have been eligible for had they come legally. They should not be eligible for citizenship. To pardon lawbreakers and reward them with the objective of their offence is inappropriate and will accelerate the flow of illegal immigrants.
The opportunity to work in the United States is a valuable one, and those who break our laws should not have the privilege of competing in the same labor market as law-abiding citizens of our great nation. Granting amnesty to those who cross our borders and enter our nation illegally is not the answer to solving the problem of illegal immigration, especially when there are so many people around the globe who wait their turn to apply for visas and pursue legal paths to immigrate to the United States. The following actions represent some of the steps I have taken since assuming office to address illegal immigration:
Border Protection: I have co-sponsored H.R.152, the National Guard Border Enforcement Act. This legislation directs the Secretary of Defense to deploy at least an additional 10,000 members of the National Guard for border control activities along the U.S.-Mexico border until the Secretary of Homeland Security certifies that the federal government has achieved operational control of the border. The border must be secured, and enforcement at the border must be effective. Congress must authorize and routinely fund adequate border enforcement personnel, technology, physical infrastructure, detention facilities, and judicial and prosecutorial resources. There is a direct relationship between border security, national security, illegal immigrations, border violence, contraband smuggling, and illegal drug peddling.
Eliminating the Visa Lottery Program: I have co-sponsored H.R.704, the SAFE for America Act. This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the diversity immigrant program. This would eliminate the visa lottery system, which rewards 50,000 annual green cards based on "random selection" instead of humanitarian need, family connection, or other economic or cultural value to the United States. We should give preference to those who seek to enter the U.S. for education, humanitarian, or job-specific reasons--not arbitrarily grant visas from a random pool of applicants.
Mandating E-Verify: I will fight to ensure that all employers must verify the legal immigration status of all employees. I have co-sponsored H.R.800, the Jobs Recovery by Ensuring a Legal American Workforce Act of 2011 which would make E-Verify, the basic pilot federal employment verification program, permanent and mandatory for all employees. E-Verify deters the employment of illegal aliens by searching employee information against government records to ensure a person's identify. The ability of employers to rely on illegal labor must be stopped. In harsh economic times, it is important to make sure illegal aliens are not in the workforce. Employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens must be prosecuted and held accountable.
Supporting Comprehensive Legislation: I have co-sponsored H.R.2000, the SAVE Act of 2011. This bill would produce a three point plan to stop illegal immigration. The first step would be to secure America's international borders by increasing Border Patrol agents. It would then expand the E-Verify program and make it mandatory for all employers. The third step would enhance and utilize current enforcement methods by increasing the investigative abilities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and expediting the processing and removal of illegal aliens.
Working Together to Find Solutions: I am proud to be a member of the Immigration Reform Caucus. The Immigration Reform Caucus has four main principles for the 112th Congress. The first principle is that border enforcement must be effective. The second principle is that enforcement at the worksite must be effective. The third principle is that the illegal immigrant population must be treated compassionately but should not be given every benefit that legal immigrants receive. The fourth and final principle is that amnesty cannot be supported for illegal immigrants.
Our nation was formed as a nation of immigrants fleeing to this continent to create a country of ideals. Those ideals speak to the value of every individual and their rights in a system governed by the rule of law. I believe in welcoming all individuals who seek to enter this land lawfully and profess allegiance to those ideals. We must pursue immigration reform because our present system not only fails to halt illegal aliens seeking entrance but also fails to accommodate those seeking to enter our society legally.