Immigration reform is a crucial part of addressing the challenges faced by the State of California and the nation as a whole. The United States is a nation of immigrants. It is our history and tradition to welcome those from other lands into the “great melting pot.” Our doors should remain open to those all around the world who are willing to come here legally, pursue their dreams, and contribute to making this a land of true opportunity and prosperity.
However, we should never reward the breaking of our immigration laws. For that reason, I thoroughly reject any and all forms of amnesty.
Amnesty in any form wrongly encourages illegal entrance into the U.S. It also fosters additional criminal activities, including but certainly not limited to drug trafficking and entitlement fraud. These undermine our principles and values as a nation of laws. They also exact heavy tolls on the American people and way of life–tolls none of us can afford at a time when our nation already faces tremendous challenges.
There is another dark side to amnesty, as well. Those who see it as the kindest solution for illegals fail to understand the realities of the human smuggling trade. Human traffickers regularly abandon their “cargo” in the desert, resulting in the death of hundreds of illegals annually. Such traffickers cruelly exploit thousands more illegals and their families via widespread kidnapping, beatings, rape, and murder. Far from halting such abuses, amnesty sustains and exacerbates them.
Finally, amnesty utterly devalues the responsibility and sacrifice of those who have respected and obeyed our laws in order to enter and reside in the U.S. legally. It is simply unacceptable to send the wrong message to legal immigrants by diminishing in any way the lawful and honorable path they have often spent years traveling to become legitimate citizens or residents of the U.S.
We must therefore address the matter of immigration by more productive means.
BOLD SOLUTION A: Fully Secure Our Nation’s Borders
Lots of talking gets done in Washington about securing our national borders, but not much positive action gets taken. Such failure affects border states, such as California, first and most seriously. It is time for the federal government finally to fulfill in earnest what the Constitution indicates should be its principal obligation: the full and proper securing of U.S. sovereign borders for the common defense.
Well designed fences work. I fully support their rightful implementation, along with any savvy tech surveillance that does not infringe on the rights of U.S. citizens. Properly staffing enough border agents to make a difference is also key. States must also retain their sovereign authority under the 10th Amendment to employ the national guard in securing their own borders when and where it makes sense to do so.
BOLD SOLUTION B: Enforce Existing Federal Immigration Laws
Rather than punishing states like Arizona for enforcing immigration laws that are already essentially on federal books, it is time the federal government started enforcing them, too. In fact, it just makes sense to pat border states on the back for helping out instead of slapping them in the face.
It is time for the federal government to put up or shut up.
BOLD SOLUTION C: Eliminate Incentives for Illegal Aliens
An extensive system of government entitlements has become a powerful incentive for illegals come to the U.S. and stay. Already strapped American taxpayers now support massive entitlement fraud perpetrated by those who have entered our country illegally, and who therefore have no claim to the privileges of funding and services. I am committed to the development and implementation of solid measures to ensure that only legal U.S. citizens and residents have access to taxpayer-funded programs.
When illegals cannot obtain access to funding and services within our borders, much of their incentive to come to the U.S. the wrong way will disappear. Many illegals currently residing within U.S. borders will subsequently leave on their own. Anyone still contemplating coming here will have stronger reasons to enter the U.S. legally.
BOLD SOLUTION D: Reform the Legal Immigration Process
The federal government has, in general, done a poor job of celebrating and encouraging legal immigration and the path to it. In fact, the process of becoming a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is often so arduous, frustrating, and expensive that it discourages many who would be wonderful and welcome additions to our country!
It is time to reassess our antiquated, inefficient, and often counter-productive immigration policies and processes. Currently, it is common to have applicants stuck for years on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services treadmill. We must examine our goals, and re-tool our systems and procedures accordingly to ensure that we can attract good people, eliminate much of the current hassle of immigration, and still maintain crucial security.
We all win when the U.S. is able to garner the best and the brightest. The goal must be to attract people who will contribute to our great nation, not simply take from it. To that end, I will also do everything in my power to enhance opportunities for skilled workers and professionals to become citizens.