America is a nation of immigrants. Our country has been built on the hard work and innovation of people who sought a better life outside of their home countries. But America is also a nation of laws and those who enter our country illegally disregard our laws. It is not only a serious legal violation, but unauthorized immigration is disrespectful to those who have come to the United States legally and is a national security risk.
Recent attempts at immigration reform have focused on amnesty for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants now in America. But amnesty is not the answer to our immigration problems. Instead of 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 and there is no reason to think it would not happen again.
Instead of amnesty, immigration reform must start with strict 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 as well as increasing the physical fence along the border and the deployment of a virtual fence made up of sensors, UAVs and other monitoring technologies to truly secure our border.
We cannot truly address illegal immigration until we know exactly who is in our country and why. That is why we must expand our e-Verify system to include biometric identification cards that identify all non-citizen immigrants and migrant workers. Our visa system should also 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.
During my time in Congress, I have worked hard to ensure that our country has a strong national defense, and I have supported securing our borders. Immigration continues to be a vital issue facing our nation, but 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 is something that I strongly oppose.