The Obama Administration and some in Congress have announced calls for immigration reform. Most of these new proposals are guised in a cloak of so called reform and feature, as their primary objective, granting amnesty. This is often referred to as a “pathway to citizenship.” I cannot support immigration reform that attempts to reward an illegal act by establishing a preference for acquiring citizenship. Entering the United States illegally is a felony under Federal statutes.
To improve our immigration system, the Administration must first enforce our immigration laws and secure our borders. These actions will be strong deterrents to illegal entry.
Immigration reform does not mean granting legal status to those who have entered the U.S. illegally. As a grandson of legal immigrants, I have been and remain a strong supporter of legal immigration. However, even with these latest calls for reform, I remain opposed to any plan that attempts to give legal status or grant blanket amnesty to those who have entered our country illegally. Granting amnesty in any manner would reward those who enter the country illegally and this is not an acceptable option in any reform measure. I remain supportive of expanding legal immigration, responsible guest worker programs and entry of non-competitive professionals and investors who expand U.S. business and employment.
Recently, we have all seen the news accounts of thousands of children crossing our borders unaccompanied and being housed in federal facilities in numerous states. By its own failed policies, the Obama Administration has encouraged this wave of illegal immigration with its inability to enforce existing laws while provoking further border crossings with the allure of amnesty as a centerpiece of their policy goal. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has compounded the problem by failing to address the border issue while refusing to say if these illegal immigrants will indeed be deported. Both of these actions have further opened the floodgates, crippling our Border States’ already taxed budgets and taking valuable resources away from our citizens and legal immigrants.
The current Administration’s immigration policy centers on empty rhetoric and misguided actions. The Federal Government has left the states with unstable borders, mounting violence and limited resources to fight illegal immigration, while at the same time, it has handicapped their ability to enforce existing laws.
Again, let me state clearly that any proposal in which illegal immigrants are provided a path to citizenship—or amnesty as most would call it—is not an acceptable option. In a speech at American University the President said, “We can create a pathway for legal status that is fair, reflective of our values and works.” Granting legal status or granting benefits to those who entered America illegally is not reflective of our laws, is not fair to those who followed the law and does not protect and preserve American values.
Unfortunately the Administration and some in Congress continue to ignore the majority of the American people who believe that the first immigration priority must be to secure our borders and eliminate special benefits for those here illegally. True immigration reform measures must focus on strengthening immigration enforcement and border protection, ensuring fair and equitable immigration and enforcing our laws.