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Mr. PAYNE. Let me first say ``thank you'' to the gentleman from New York, the gentleman from across the river with whom we are looking forward to having a great working relationship, as well as with the gentleman from Nevada, who has also distinguished himself very early in this Congress.
As we debate this issue, we must not forget that we are a Nation of immigrants, and it is our rich history of immigration that has strengthened this country generation after generation. Yes, we must secure our borders, but we must also recognize that there have been a record number of deportations and seizures over the last 4 years. This issue of border security cannot be used as a fear tactic to prevent progress. In my district, people migrate from all over the globe, not just from Latin America, but from the Caribbean and Africa and Asia as well, and they are all in search of the same thing--the American Dream.
Children who were brought here through no fault of their own and who think of themselves as Americans wait in limbo, so we have a moral obligation to fix our broken system. It is not only the right thing to do, but it is the practical thing to do. Over 11 million undocumented workers live in our communities. They go to our schools, and they work among us every day. It is time for Congress to provide these 11 million people their chance to come out of the shadows without the specter of deportation hanging over their heads.
It's also time to streamline the legal immigration process and to make it more efficient for high-skilled workers and those working in science fields to be able to stay and keep their talents here.
In my district--the 10th district of New Jersey, and in every corner of America, immigrants are receiving degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math. They are the business leaders and innovators of the future. But when they graduate, they are sent home.
If we want to remain the pre-eminent country in the world--If we want to continue to attract the best talent--If we want to continue to out-innovate the rest of the world--if we want to continue to be a just nation. Then we must act now.
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