Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution charges Congress with establishing "an uniform Rule of Naturalization." This is a constitutional duty I take very seriously. There is no controversy about the fact that our country has a broken immigration system and a broken border. The bills currently being developed by groups in the House and Senate have not been revealed, which makes it difficult to comment on specific legislation. Nevertheless, I believe it is important to provide my constituents with my philosophy regarding any immigration reform bill that may soon be presented.
1. I will definitely vote "no" on any bill that is not given sufficient time for reading, deliberating, and vetting. Immigration reform must not be passed in the same secretive, rushed, and frenzied manner as Obamacare, and Members of Congress must not shirk transparent discussions.
2. Immigration reform starts with accountable border security that includes regular audits and oversight from Congress.
3. We cannot reward people who broke our laws. The punishment must be proportional to the crime. It must be neither weak nor excessive.
4. We must improve the legal immigration system to reflect the economic needs of our nation. We need additional guest worker visas to fill immediate gaps in our workforce and continue growing our economy. Portability of guest worker visas could protect employees from exploitation and abuse by employers.
The United States has been from the beginning a nation of immigrants. Immigrants are self-selected, motivated workers who have a willingness to take risks, work hard, and raise the standard of living for themselves and for all Americans. Most Americans are descendants of this tradition and it is my desire to see our immigration system improved. As always, I will listen to my constituents and ask for all viewpoints when I consider legislation. I will also fiercely defend the independence of my vote from the pressure of political parties, special interest groups, or lobbyists. This is an Article I, Section 8 duty of the U.S. Congress and I will not take it lightly. Nothing less than the continued greatness of America is at stake.