As a representative from Florida, a state with a high immigrant population (the recent census numbers estimate that one in four Floridians is foreign born), the issue of immigration and immigration reform is of utmost importance. I strongly believe that immediate action must be taken to straighten out the legal situation for the approximately 12 million people in our country that are extremely hard working and productive, yet undocumented. I am also concerned about the people from Haiti, who, following the terrible earthquake that the island is yet to recover from, risk their lives attempting to safely reach our shores.
My staff and I assist my constituents with immigration casework issues every day. For instance, I worked with a student from Miami (Walter Lara), who entered the country illegally with his parents at the age of three. Presently, he is 21 and in college, and because of the fact that his parents illegally crossed the border with him when he was a child, he is threatened with deportation to Argentina. I firmly believe that these students, who have often times been in the United States since childhood, deserve a chance to legalize their immigration status, further their education and contribute to our country's future. That said, I am ardent supporter of the President's Executive Order for the DREAM ACT's implementation.
Certainly, our country also needs to provide adequate funding for border security and for the Department of Homeland Security to ensure the safety of all of our citizens, as well as a comprehensive program to assist employers to verify the legal status of their employees. Overall, there needs to be a system of legal immigration in place that employers and immigrants can utilize, and that allows immigration authorities to better control our borders while at the same time honoring families that should not be ripped apart.
The United States has always been a proud nation of immigrants. And like the generations who came before us, the most recent newcomers want what all Americans desire: to raise a family, build a safe community, practice their faith in freedom, and be able to seek new and better opportunities for their children.
I find it very encouraging that the group of Senators have come together to craft a bipartisan, comprehensive solution to confront this challenge, and I urge the House Republican leadership in the House of Representatives to support a bipartisan approach towards the comprehensive immigration reform our nation desperately needs."