Immigration and Homeland Security
At the core of the national character of the United States stand two principles: One, we are a nation of immigrants; within our borders every culture and ethnicity in the world is represented. Almost all who live here can easily trace their ancestry to a foreign country. Two, we are a peace-loving and law-abiding society. The United States, more than any other country, has a stable political and economic system because we respect the rule of law that maintains the peace and prosperity we enjoy.
I have consistently maintained that there is a real need for a rational immigration policy. As additional immigration proposals are considered in Congress, I will continue to press for an immigration policy that is built on several important principles:
- First, the United States must commit the resources necessary to have the strongest border enforcement realistically possible. Preservation of the integrity of our borders is essential to both a sensible guest worker program as well as our national security. When we have a stable and manageable guest worker and immigration system, we will be able to ensure that those who come to our country, whether they seek to come as a temporary worker or to obtain permanent residency, do so in compliance with our rule of law.
- Second, our immigration system must not grant amnesty to those who enter our country illegally. No person who breaks the law and enters the U.S. illegally should obtain any benefit toward either permanent legal residency or citizenship as a result of their illegal conduct. This is unfair both to American citizens and to those who have gone through legal channels for immigration to the U.S.
- Third, our guest worker programs must assure that American citizens have the first right to access available jobs. There is significant debate about whether American citizens are losing U.S. jobs to workers from other countries. However, this debate can be resolved by assuring that any jobs made available in a guest worker program are first available to U.S. workers. Manageable ways to assure this have already been identified.
- Fourth, an efficient and workable guest worker program must be developed that will provide employers with a reliable, verifiable and legal system to identify guest workers who are legally in the country.
Following terrorist attacks within the United States and overseas in recent years, I fully understand the urgency to enact a vigorous response to the growing threat of terror within our borders. National security and the safety of the American people must remain paramount in debating any immigration program reforms. Such needed improvements include increased scrutiny of those entering the United States and closer examination and vetting of individuals prior to arriving at our borders. Such measures, coupled with close cooperation between U.S. and foreign intelligence services will greatly increase the ability of law enforcement to stop terrorists’ ability to act.
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