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Real Immigration Reform Begins with Border Security - Video Mailbox
I have received many phone calls, letters, and emails recently about immigration reform. In this edition of my video mailbox, I want to answer some of the questions and concerns that I have heard and read from people in our part of Texas about this important issue.
America is a nation of immigrants, and a nation of laws. It is clear that our immigration system is broken and that reform is vital to our country’s national security and economic future. But a rush to pass immigration reform just for the sake of doing so would be foolish. So the House will not be taking up the massive, comprehensive immigration bill passed by the Senate. For any proposal to pass the House, it will have to make America stronger and safer.
In my view, there are four key issues that must be addressed to accomplish that goal:
1. Securing our borders and enforcing our laws;
2. Fixing our legal immigration system to attract and keep highly skilled and highly trained immigrants in the U.S. workforce;
3. The need for a guest worker program for those who want to come here for a limited time to work;
4. Addressing what happens to the approximately 10 to 12 million people who are already here illegally in a way that is fair to everyone and does not encourage more illegal immigration - blanket amnesty is not an option.
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Without controlling the borders, other attempts to set immigration policy are useless. We have to control who and what comes across our borders, but we also have to be able to enforce the laws inside our country, and real reform will help make that possible. It means that we need to improve the verification system for employers and ensure that illegal immigrants do not receive benefits meant for citizens.
Any immigration reform must benefit our nation. It should stop illegal immigration and also improve our legal immigration system. The current process for people who want to follow the law and immigrate here legally is a nightmare. It discourages highly educated, highly skilled workers from joining our workforce after graduating from American universities, and it encourages people to overstay their student or tourist visas with little consequence.
In fact, about 40 percent of illegal immigrants in our country are those who came here legally with a visa but stayed after their visas expired. We should replace the random lottery system that brings 55,000 people to the United States each year with a system that is designed to attract foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degrees into the American workforce.
To discourage the illegal immigration of those who simply want to work in the U.S. for a limited time, we need a guest worker program. If done properly, American farmers and businesses can benefit from a strong labor force and so can the individuals and their families who come here to work temporarily.
Once we have taken the necessary steps to secure our border and enforce our laws, we will ultimately have to decide how to deal with the 10 to 12 million people who are already in the U.S. illegally in a way that makes sense. I oppose any type of blanket amnesty, and as I have said before, we must manage immigration in a way that promotes our national interests. That will continue to be my goal in working on this important issue.
I invite you to learn more about this issues by watching this edition of the video mailbox. Have a question you would like answered? Please contact me by phone, letter, e-mail,on Facebook, or on Twitter.
As always, I appreciate hearing from you.Sincerely,