Immigration Reform

One of the most significant issues facing the 110th Congress is immigration reform.  I have long stated that we must secure our borders because, until we do that, we will never fully solve our immigration crisis.  In addition to gaining full control of our borders, which I view as the basic requirement in any immigration reform measure, I favor mandatory verification of fraud-proof documents for all employees. 

    I am opposed to amnesty, but I remain mindful that industries, whether large or small, must have a seasonal and unseasonal workforce that American labor is not filling.  This workforce, of course, includes those who labor in industries such as agriculture, landscaping, fisheries, meat processing, hospitality, restaurants, and construction. For many years, this nation has not had a temporary visa program capable of keeping pace with the escalating demand for workers, and, therefore, such a program must be created. That said, we must be able to track where the workers go, how long they stay, and whether they leave the U.S. in accordance with the terms of their visa. Tracking technology exists now. Before making these jobs available for foreign workers, however, U.S. workers must get first choice. 

    Any immigration bill that reaches the full House for consideration will likely also contain provisions for increasing the number of visas available for highly skilled and educated foreign workers. America’s high-tech industries, health care, medical research, and academia, are struggling to find qualified engineers, scientists, researchers, nurses, and educators to meet the needs of our society. While our colleges and universities are producing exceptional American graduates who fill some of the need, there are too few to meet the demand. 

    While we may decide to accommodate the need for foreign workers who possess exceptional skills and knowledge because they help improve our lives and the lives of our children, we simply cannot afford to offer permanent legal status to people who are here illegally.  We cannot reward those who entered our country illegally by giving them a head start above those who are playing by the rules and trying to become American citizens through proper and legal channels.  

    I remain hopeful that my colleagues who have direct involvement in drafting reform legislation will come forward with workable solutions on what I consider the most important domestic issue facing this Congress.