America is a nation built by people on the move. Still today, immigration helps to keep our economy moving forward. While we should pursue wise immigration policies, we must reject attempts to divide our American community by race or country of origin. If we approach this issue with pragmatism and decency, we can reform our system to support American workers and businesses, bring immigrants out of the shadows, and focus enforcement most effectively.
As a candidate for Congress, my priorities are to:
1. Pass the DREAM Act
Dreamers are Americans, in every way except a piece of paper. Brought to this country as children, they have studied, worked, and served in the only home they know. There are over 800,000 Dreamers, many of whom have families and have started small businesses, employing Americans. They add to the greatness of our country, and I support a path to permanent residency as laid out in the DREAM Act.
2. Pass comprehensive immigration reform
Right now, our immigration system is broken, but too much of the public dialog around immigration centers around deportation. The idea of rounding up 11 million people - 11 million of our neighbors across the United States - is deeply immoral. It would also be logistically impossible and extraordinarily expensive, and it is unacceptable for our neighbors to have to live in fear of their families being ripped apart while at church or at school. I support comprehensive immigration reform along the lines of the bipartisan proposal of the “Gang of Eight” Senators in 2013. This comprehensive reform must include a clean DREAM Act, a pathway to citizenship, a streamlined, modernized, and simplified immigration system, and smarter border security.
3. Modernize our work visa system
An underlying cause of our immigration problems is that our current system for granting work visas doesn’t meet our economy’s real needs. Here in our district, local businesses in construction, agriculture, and recreation benefit from the skills and drive of immigrant workers from around the world. But rather than resolving that need through a well-managed system of legal work visas, we’ve created an underground economy that leaves immigrants vulnerable to abuse. In Congress, I will work to reform our visa system to provide for an appropriate level of vetted, legal immigration that supports America's economy.
4. Enact smart and effective border security
Building a physical wall is the least effective, most wasteful way to approach the real problems of border security. The vast majority of immigrants who are undocumented overstayed tourist visas and didn’t cross by foot. A wall would cost hundreds of billions of taxpayers dollars, yet do little to actually block the major sources of undocumented immigration. Instead, we should invest in more effective approaches including drone and sensor monitoring of the border to crackdown on smuggling, invest in a biometric entry and exit system to dissuade undocumented immigration, crack down on the human traffickers who exploit would-be immigrants, and simplify our legal immigration system to streamline the process for people to legally immigrate and begin contributing to our economy.