Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) joined five of his House colleagues in sending a letter to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) this evening concerning immigration.
The letter offers the Representatives' "support, encouragement and assistance as we work together to identify the principles that must guide our nation's thinking on immigration reform." The letter identifies three specific principles of reform: ensuring the security of the country's borders, expanding legal immigration, and finding a way to reasonably address illegal immigrants currently in the U.S.
The full text of the letter is below:
We write to offer you our support, encouragement and assistance as we work together to identify the principles that must guide our nation's thinking on immigration reform.
You noted Tuesday in your remarks to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that "somewhere along the line, Republicans have failed to understand and articulate that immigrants are an asset to America, not a liability," and that the Republican Party must embrace more legal immigration. We wholeheartedly agree -- and stand alongside you in your efforts. We believe you put it best when you said, "Immigration reform will not occur until Conservative Republicans become part of the solution."
While we recognize that many details and specific proposals will need to be worked out, we want you to know that we support what we see as the three-legged stool of systemic immigration reform:
1) Ensuring the security of our borders, including both our physical borders and the "virtual" border of visa overstays (which account for almost half of our current illegal immigrant population) with such security acting as a pre-requisite or "trigger" for other reforms;
2) Expanding legal immigration, with a special eye toward encouraging highly-skilled workers educated here to remain here, expanding opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to come here, and providing an adequate legal migrant worker system to help serve our agricultural and tourism industries; and
3) Finding a way to reasonably address the reportedly 11 million people who came here knowingly and illegally -- in a way that is best for all Americans. This means protecting the rights of those who are seeking and continue to seek to come here legally. But it also may mean providing a legal status, upon certain conditions and that may not include full rights of citizenship, to people who are currently here.
We believe such an approach would put the broader health of our economy -- not entrenched special interests -- at the forefront of this debate. Indeed, it would go great lengths to reinforce the principles we share as Americans, and as sons and daughters of immigrants ourselves.
Immigration has been essential to the advancement of our nation's well-being -- and we believe you are on the right track both in acknowledging this elemental contribution and safeguarding it in a fair and consistent manner for all of our nation's workers.
Mick Mulvaney (R-SC)
Justin Amash (R-MI)
Thomas Massie (R-KY)
Jeff Duncan (R-SC)
Trey Radel (R-FL)
Mark Meadows (R-NC)