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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.

Previous 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. Rather than stopping the flow 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.

Instead of amnesty, immigration reform must start with heightened border security and end with the strict 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.

Furthermore, I believe that any immigration reform must remain focused on the protection of our national security, the virtue of fairness, and the rule of law, which 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.