America’s strength comes from the fact that we are a nation of immigrants; a nation built on diversity and cooperation. Our nation’s success in the sciences, the arts and industry can be attributed to generations of hard work and innovation contributed by people who sought a better life outside of their home countries in America.
However, we are also a nation of laws. Those who enter our country illegally disrespect those laws and take advantage of our good will. Worse, their presence in the shadows places the costs of their health and welfare on the shoulders of the taxpayer, burdening our economy and increasing the cost of living for hard working American citizens and legal immigrants.
Recent attempts at immigration reform have focused on amnesty for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants now in America. Amnesty is not the answer to our immigration problems. Instead easing the crush of illegal immigrants into our country, amnesty would entice a new wave to enter our nation illegally to wait until the next amnesty is announced. This already happened once two decades ago when we forgave thousands of illegal aliens. There is no reason to think it would not happen again.
Instead of amnesty, immigration reform must start with border security and end with the forceful enforcement of our laws. A nation is nothing without total control over the sovereignty of its borders. I strongly support tougher laws against smugglers and drug traffickers. I also support the deployment of National Guard troops to our borders and believe a physical fence is necessary to truly secure our border. I supported funding the construction of 700 miles of physical fencing along our borders, and I am an ardent supporter of a virtual fence to supplement our physical border made up of sensors, UAVs and other technology.
Second, we cannot truly address illegal immigration until we know exactly who is in our country and why. That is why we must have a biometric identification card to identify all non-citizen immigrants and migrant workers. Our visa system should be modernized to reduce fraud. While businesses cannot be asked to play the role of law enforcement, Congress can encourage worker verification through a serious program of penalties and incentives that makes it in the businesses’ best interest to employ only legal workers.
Immigration reform continues to be a vital issue facing our nation. Any reform of our massive immigration system must remain focused on the protection of our national security and the virtue of fairness and rule of law that serves as the underpinning of our society. Amnesty for illegal immigrants does a great disservice to those virtues and must be opposed.