CRACKING DOWN ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AND SECURING OUR BORDERS
Recent action in the Senate on immigration legislation has brought the issue to the forefront of the media, government and even the dinner table. Illegal immigration is not a new issue, it has plagued our nation for decades, costing our taxpayers billions of dollars each year, and jeopardizing our nation's security.
There are estimated to be over ten million illegal aliens currently living in the United States and the numbers continue to rise. This trend cannot be allowed to continue.
The fight against illegal immigration starts at our nation's borders. But it should not end there, and unfortunately often does. Nearly half of those who are illegally in the U.S. entered legally and then violated the terms of their visas by simply not leaving. Simply strengthening the Border Patrol is not enough to stop illegal immigration. Weak enforcement in the interior of our country and confusing provisions in immigration law have allowed illegal aliens to stay in the country for years without punishment.
In order to crack down on illegal immigration, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4437, a strong immigration enforcement and border security bill, which I cosponsored. This legislation institutes an employment eligibility verification system in which employers must submit the Social Security and alien identification numbers of their potential employees to the appropriate agency in order to weed out fraudulent numbers and ensure that employers are not employing illegal aliens.
Additionally, this legislation increases penalties for alien smuggling and would stiffen penalties for aliens who re-enter the United States after having been previously deported. Furthermore, H.R. 4437, cracks down on alien gang members and would render alien street gang members inadmissible and deportable.
In addition to dealing with illegal immigration, we must also scrutinize current immigration policies that threaten our national security. During consideration of H.R. 4437, I offered an amendment to eliminate the controversial visa lottery program through which approximately 50,000 permanent resident visas are handed out to foreign nationals on the basis of pure luck. This outrageous program is a national security threat and should be eliminated. My amendment gained bipartisan support and passed the House by a vote of 273-148.
Legal immigration has blessed our country with diversity and talent; however, illegal immigration is a complete mockery of our system and the people who abide by the rules.
While I believe that a limited and temporary guest worker program could meet the needs of some sectors of the American economy, I am opposed to amnesty. Amnesty is not the answer and it undermines the laws of our country and encourages further illegal immigration.
Now is the time to crack down on illegal immigration and to secure our borders. As your Congressman I will remain committed to these principles and the rule of law.