We have always been a nation of immigrants, but with the worldwide threat of terrorism, our national security requires that we know who is in our country and why they are here. Because of the size of our international borders, we must secure our borders effectively and efficiently. By utilizing cutting-edge technology, we can provide continuous surveillance of our borders. We need to allow Border Patrol agents the ability to enforce our laws without restrictions and apprehend those that are attempting to unlawfully enter our country. Not only will strengthening our borders help prevent illegal immigration, it will help protect Americans from drug smugglers, gun runners and human traffickers.
The biggest aspect of illegal immigration which Congress has failed to address is what to do with the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living inside the United States. As residents of southern California, we all have suffered the negative impacts that illegal immigration has made on our lives. We pay more for health insurance and automobile insurance, because we need to share the cost of the uninsured. Our crowded school classrooms, hospital emergency rooms, jails and prisons are a reflection of many years of a failed immigration policy.
If elected, I will form a coalition consisting of the members of Congress from California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. These four states alone represent more than 20% of the American population and certainly bear a greater share of illegal immigrants. The group will identify the circumstances under which an illegal immigrant will be issued a temporary permit to stay inside the United States, while he or she gets in line and applies for permanent legal status. The temporary permit may involve paying a fine or providing community service. Those who do not meet the required circumstances or fail to register after a certain time period will be subject to arrest and deportation. As Americans, we are humane and compassionate, and yet we are a nation of laws. We need laws that address the entire aspect of the immigration problem, and those laws will be enacted only with leadership, not politics.