Illegal immigration continues to be one of the most serious problems facing our country today — and the unwillingness of our federal government to address it represents an ongoing, unconscionable and bi-partisan failure.
Today, in the face of the growing threat from international terrorists, the relationship between border security and national security is clearer than ever. And the negligence with which our federal government has operated in this area has grown dangerous beyond belief.
In addition, the endless flood of people coming here illegally has the effect of suppressing workers’ wages and shutting others out of the workforce altogether — a particularly disastrous situation today as millions of Americans continue to suffer under President Obama’s failed economic policies. This affects all working people, particularly those with lower skill levels and experience, regardless of race or ethnic background.
There are of course many aspects to the illegal-immigration debate, and many challenges that policymakers must confront in addressing this issue. However, there are a few common-sense steps that can and must be taken immediately in order to get this problem under control.
As a member of Congress, I will combat illegal immigration by focusing on seven priorities:
1. Securing our Southern border with Mexico — which means using all appropriate resources at our disposal to accomplish this goal. This includes building a wall that works, increasing border-security personnel and enhancing surveillance, among other steps.
2. Firmly opposing amnesty for those who have come to this country illegally.
3. Supporting a permanent prohibition on anyone who has entered the United States illegally from ever applying for U.S. citizenship.
4. Ending catch-and-release practices toward illegal immigrants. Those who are here illegally and come into custody for an additional violation should be either held and prosecuted, or deported.
5. Cracking down on sanctuary-city policies, including withholding federal funding from those cities that undermine our nation’s immigration laws.
6. Strengthening e-Verify laws, and increasing the responsibility for employers to ensure the legal status of those they hire.
7. Reining in our nation’s massive — and growing — welfare state, which is a major contributor to the problem of illegal immigration. Not everyone who comes to the United States — legally or illegally — does so for a handout. However, when our government signals that it’s willing to provide those handouts, it’s inevitable that we will attract large numbers of illegal immigrants looking to take advantage of the system.
For decades, we the people have been calling for serious border security and other meaningful action to address the problem of illegal immigration. And during that entire time, our national policymakers have responded with nothing but excuses.
What’s most frustrating is that those in power know full well how to address this problem. What’s been lacking is the courage and the political will to do the right thing.
The time for excuses is over. The time to act is now.